Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) The commander in chief of the Iraqi armed forces has congratulated troops on liberation of a region from Islamic State in southwest of Kirkuk.
A statement issued by the office of Haidar al-Abadi on Friday said “Abadi greets our champions on liberation of Abbassi, located in Hawija, in short time.”
Earlier on the day, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, chief of Federal Police, said in a statement that troops completely liberated al-Abbassi region, as well as a school and medical center in Gharib village, west of Hawija.
Early on Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command announced beginning of the second phase of Hawija offensive.
On Sunday, the Joint Operations Command announced completing the first phase of operations to recapture Hawija, which launched on September 21. According to Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, 557 IS militants were killed, while more than 100 villages and regions were liberated during the first phase.
Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said previously that the number of Islamic State members in Hawija falls between 800 and 1500.
Hawija and other neighboring regions, west of Kirkuk, have been held by IS since mid-2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.