Coalition aircraft while conducting airstrikes against IS in Iraq.
Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Nine Islamic State militants were killed Sunday as an airstrike launched by the U.S.-led coalition targeted the group’s pockets in southwest of Kirkuk, a local source said.
“The international coalition jets targeted IS locations in al-Rashad, al-Riyadh and Hawija, southwestern Kirkuk,” the source told AlSumaria News on Sunday.
“Nine militants were killed, while one of the headquarters of the so-called ‘kirkuk State’ was destroyed,” the source added.
Security officials say tens of IS families in the group’s so-called Diyala State headed to Hawija after losing the cities they controlled after June 2014.
Hawija and Riyad, located west of Kirkuk, have been held by IS since mid-2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.
Dozens of residents from Hawija and the regions in its vicinity escape to Kirkuk province on a daily basis. Despite the risky routes to the freed regions, the civilians prefer death to staying under IS control.
There has been pressure on Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, given the humanitarian crisis people were experiencing under the group’s rule. Further offensives are expected to be launched across Iraq.