Security forces launch anti-IS operation in central Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-26 20:01:45|Editor: ying
Video PlayerClose

TIKRIT, Iraq, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Wednesday launched an operation to dislodge Islamic State (IS) militants from a rugged area along the border between the central provinces of Salahudin and Diyala, a security source said.

The security forces and allied paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units pushed in the morning from four directions into Mteibijah area, some 100 km southeast of Salahudin's provincial capital of Tikrit, Jasim Jabara, head of security committee of Salahudin's provincial council, told Xinhua.

The troops, backed by army helicopters fought sporadic clashes with IS militants in the area, while the helicopter gunships destroyed four IS vehicles and two booby-trapped cars, Jabara said.

The operation in Mteibijah was designed to take control of the entire IS-held area, where hundreds of IS militants hid, in order to prevent their attacks against civilian and military targets in the provinces of Salahudin and Diyala, Jabara added.

The Iraqi security forces repeatedly tried to retake control of Mteibijah, which located in the middle of vast rugged land and some mountains in the predominately Sunni Arab province of Salahudin, making it difficult to the troops to keep it away from the extremist militants, according to Jabara.

The operation came as Iraqi security forces, backed by an anti-IS international coalition, carried out a major offensive to drive IS militants out of their last major stronghold in and around Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.