Rawa (IraqiNews.com) Eleven Islamic State members, including a regional commander, were killed Tuesday in operations by Iraqi government and paramilitary troops launched preparing to clear those regions from militants.
Commando forces from the army’s 7th division, backed by Popular Mobilization Forces, killed eleven Islamic State members, including the so-called “wali” (viceroy) in an assault on the outskirts of Rawa, one of the group’s last two strongholds in western Anbar, according to Alghad Press.
The offensive also destroyed five rest houses used by the militants, according to sources talking with the website.
Islamic State held Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa since 2014, when they occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them in 2015 and 2016.
Iraqi government and paramilitary forces regained control over Annah last Thursday, two days after launching offensives for IS havens in western Anbar, and preparations were recently reported for the invasion of Rawa. Troops are currently in parallel operations to retake Kirkuk’s Hawija from the militants. They recently recaptured Salahuddin’s town of Shirqat as part of the offensive.
Rights groups believe Islamic State militants are holding at least 65000 civilians at their strongholds in western Anbar, voicing fears that those could be used as human shields. Militants have regularly shot dead or caught and executed civilians fleeing those regions.