Shirqat (IraqiNews.com) Paramilitary troops fighting Islamic State militants said Thursday they had rescued dozens of families in Salahuddin province as operations continue to militants’ havens.
Jabbar al-Maamouri, a senior leader at the Popular Mobilization Forces, told Alsumaria News that the troops managed to set free 30 families which the militants had tried to use as human shields as a military campaign seeks to retake the eastern side of the Islamic State-held town of Shirqat.
Maamouri said four defense lines set by IS had collapsed without resistance, while several villages were recaptured. He added that ten militants turned themselves in with security forces.
Iraqi government and paramilitary forces recaptured several villages on Thursday as the government launched a wide-scale, final operation to retake all of Islamic State’s remaining havens in Kirkuk and Salahuddin.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command said Thursday that major offensives were launching to retake Islamic State last bastions in Salahuddin’s Shirqat and Kirkuk’s Hawija. Other offensives had launched earlier this week at the group’s holdouts in western Anbar’s borders with Syria.
Federal Police, Rapid Response and the pro-government Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are carrying out the attack, according to the command.
Iraq hopes to eliminate Islamic State fighters who emerged in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”. So far, operations since October 2016 have managed to recapture Mosul, the group’s former capital, and the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul.