Anbar (IraqiNews.com) An official from Anbar province has denied news on launch of military operations to liberate Islamic State’s stronghold in Anbar
“Operations in Rawa will not launch before three days at least to eradicate the sleeper cells and end the militants presence in al-Rummana village,” Hussein al-Okaidi, mayor of Rawa, told Baghdad Today on Saturday.
“Troops are combing regions and villages of Qaim, which are desert ones that need time,” he added.
Earlier on the day, news channels reported that troops tightened control on Old Rawa region, west of Anbar, in less than 24 hours after Qaim liberation.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced on Friday liberation of Qaim in record time.
Many IS militants reportedly fled Qaim heading to al-BuKamal in Syria, after several leaders ran away and were killed in airstrikes by the Iraqi and U.S.-Coalition jets.
Operations were launched, late October, to liberate Qaim and Rawa towns.
Each of Qaim and Rawa have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”.
Iraqi forces have managed, so far, to retake Mosul, the group’s former capital, the town of Tal Afar, west of Nineveh, Kirkuk’s town of Hawija and Anbar’s Annah and Qaim.