Three Islamic State preachers, families, escape southwestern Kirkuk

The Islamic State militants. File photo.

Kirkuk ( Three Islamic State prominent preachers escaped from the group’s haven in southwestern Kirkuk to unknown destination along with their families, a local source said.

“Three IS preachers in Hawija, Kirkuk, escaped along with their families to unknown place last on Thursday,” the source told AlSumaria News.

“The group stormed houses of the three preachers and inspected houses of their relatives in efforts to find them,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, added.

Earlier on the day, the group reportedly executed a senior leader, known as Abu Qatada al-Muhajir, for attempting to flee the town.

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. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.

Further reinforcements from the Federal Police were sent earlier this month from Baghdad to the town, as the military command declared, late August, the end of operations in Tal Afar, the militants’ last haven west of Nineveh, and the approach of the launch of offensives for Hawija.

Spokesperson of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command Yehia Rasool said, last week, there were 2000 IS militants inside Hawija.

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