WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Iraqi Security Forces started an offensive involving major combat operations in Hawijah in order to take back control of the city from the Daesh terrorist group, Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said in a press release on Thursday.
"Iraqi Security Forces initiated major combat operations in Hawijah during the early morning hours Sept. 21," the release stated.
Iraq's Federal Police Forces have liberated nine villages from the Daesh terrorist group to the west of Hawija town in Kirkuk province, Iraq's Federal Police Forces Commander Raed Shaker Jawdat said Thursday.
Jawdat told reporters that during the first stage of the offensive the Iraqi forces had killed 45 terrorists and destroyed seven vehicles loaded with explosive materials to the west of Hawija.
A few days earlier the Iraqi military announced on Saturday it had launched an operation to clear the parts of western Iraq under Daesh control from terrorists.
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) 21 сентября 2017 г.
The release noted that the Middle Euphrates River Valley is one of two remaining areas where Daesh fighters remain in Iraq. The other area is the western Anbar province.
The terror group took control of Hawijah in 2014, but it became isolated during the battle for Mosul in July of 2016 when Iraqi troops took the city of Shirqat, the release added.
The news comes after the Iraq armed forces announced they had freed over 90 percent of the Iraqi territory from terrorists. According to government data, over 2.2 million refugees have returned to the Iraqi regions which have been liberated from the terrorists.