Iraqi troops free two men from Islamic State captivity in Kirkuk

A Shi’ite volunteer wearing a mask, who has joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), looks on during a parade on a street in Kanaan, Diyala province, June 26, 2014.

Kirkuk ( – Iraqi police forces freed on Sunday two citizens from Islamic State captivity in the northern province of Kirkuk, the Federal Police Command said.

Hazem Ahmed and Basem Raheem were taken captive by Islamic State militants two weeks ago in southern Kirkuk, Iraqi news website Alghad Press quoted the command as saying in a press statement.

The operation was carried out based on intelligence information in the Zaghiton Valley in Kirkuk, added the command.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

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