Shirqat (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Federal Police said Saturday they became in control over 90 percent of Islamic State’s stronghold in Salahuddin province, a few days after operations launched for the group’s few remaining havens in Iraq.
The service’s chief, Shaker Jawdat, said his forces became in control over 90 percent of the eastern side of Shirqat town. He said militants fled towards al-Zab river, adding that forces were two kilometers away from it.
A source told Baghdad Today, meanwhile, that Islamic State has embarked on collective executions of members who attempted to flee battles in Salahuddin to Hawija, the group’s stronghold in neighboring Kirkuk where parallel security operations are running to retake militants-held regions.
The executed members were ambushed on their way out, according to the source, who added that those included the group’s local judge.
Earlier on Saturday, Jawdat said 225 militants had been killed since the launch of operations in Shirqat.
The Iraqi government declared last week the launch of simultaneous operations to retake Islamic State strongholds in Kirkuk’s Hawija and Salahuddin’s Shirqat where a few thousands of militants are believed to remain.
Islamic State militants emerged in 2014, taking over large areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria to proclaim a self-styled “caliphate”.
Operations by the Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, have, so far, managed to retake the group’s former capital, Mosul, as well as the town of Tal Afar, both in Nineveh province.
Coinciding with the offensives in Shirqat and Hawija, security forces have also launched a campaign to liberate Islamic State’s havens in western Anbar’s towns of Annah, Rawa and Qaim.