Anbar (Iraqinews.com) – Over 80 percent of Anbar desert areas have been purged from Islamic State militants, a senior security official in Anbar province was quoted as saying.
Speaking to Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper on Sunday, Naeem al-Kaoud, the chairman of the Anbar province’s security committee, said, “Security forces and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) purged over 80 percent of desert areas in Anbar province from Islamic State during a military operation there.”
“The troops also destroyed several Islamic State hotbeds and remotely detonated four armored vehicles that were used by the militant group,” he said, adding that 10 more people were arrested on suspicion of joining Islamic State.
“Although the hotbeds were underground, the troops were able to destroy them after receiving intelligence reports on their locations,” Kaoud pointed out that .
“The military operation, backed by the U.S.-led international coalition and the Iraqi Air Force, comes as part of ongoing efforts to eliminate IS militants on the country’s borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan,” he added.
Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
Despite the victory over IS militants in Iraq, observers say the militant group is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.