Iraqi troops dislodge 77 villages from IS militants, southwest Mosul

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Baghdad ( Iraqi forces on Thursday liberated 77 villages in al-Hadar city from Islamic State militants, an army commander said.

“Iraqi servicemen, backed by al-Hashd al-Shaabi and federal police, dislodged IS militants from 77 villages and retook control of an airport south of Hatra city, southwest of Mosul,” Alghad Press quoted Commander of the al- Jazeera and Upper Euphrates Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah as saying.

The joint troops also destroyed nine armored vehicles that were used by IS militants, Yarallah said, adding that Iraqi forces are determined to liberate all territories from Islamic State.

Earlier in the day, pro-government paramilitary troops have liberated several villages within operations that were launched to free al-Jazeera regions, located between three provinces of Nineveh, Salahuddin and Kirkuk.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said during his weekly press briefing on Tuesday that his country has defeated Islamic State at the military level, but will declare the final victory after desert areas are purged of militants.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied. Since then, forces took back the group’s former capital, Mosul, the town of Tal Afar, Kirkuk’s Hawija, and Anbar’s Annah, Rawa and Qaim.

The war against IS has displaced nearly five million people, with tens of thousands of civilians and militants killed since the launch of the offensives to recapture occupied cities.

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