Iraqi forces in final assault to take Hawija from Islamic State

By REUTERS
October 4, 2017 08:47
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BAGHDAD - Iraqi forces on Wednesday launched the final assault to capture the town of Hawija, one of two pockets of territory still under control of Islamic State in Iraq, the country's military said in a statement.

Iraqi forces began moving on Hawija two days after capturing the Rashad air base, located 30 km (20 miles) to the south and used by the militants as a training camp and logistics site.

Iraq launched an offensive on September 21 to dislodge Islamic State from Hawija, which lies west of the oil city of Kirkuk and north of Baghdad.

The other area of the country still under the control of the militant group is a stretch of land along the Syrian border, in western Iraq.

Islamic State's self-declared "caliphate" effectively collapsed in July, when US-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, after a gruelling nine-month battle.


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