Paramilitary troops refute claims on clashes with Islamic State in Hawija

An Iraqi security man in Iraq

Kirkuk ( – Pro-government troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) denied on Wednesday media reports about armed clashes with militants of the Islamic State (IS) group in Hawija district, in southwestern Kirkuk, yesterday.

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Baghdad Today, the troops described reports circulated in mass media about the above-mentioned incident as “completely wrong.”

The statement made it clear that an explosive charge left over by Islamic State militants went off in Hawija district last night, leaving a fighter of al-Hashd al-Shaabi dead and two others injured, including a policeman.

Yesterday, media reports claimed that an attack by Islamic State members targeted the paramilitary troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Nawafel village, al-Rashad town, southwest of Kirkuk, leaving one leader killed and five other personnel wounded.

Last October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country.

The town had fallen to IS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”.

There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces.

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