Iraqi forces push into last IS stronghold in western Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-29 00:13:50|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Saturday continued their push into the last stronghold of Islamic State (IS) militants near the border with Syria in Iraq's western province of Anbar, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi army and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades took control of large areas east of the border city of al-Qaim, some 330 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, after they defeated the extremist militants from their hideouts, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

The troops also recaptured many villages and a bridge on the Euphrates River, al-Qaim railway station, power station, a military air base and Akkaz gas field southeast of al-Qaim, the statement said.

On Thursday, the security forces initiated their advance towards the last IS stronghold in Iraq near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

So far, the troops killed a total of 75 IS militants and destroyed nine suicide car bombs, 10 IS vehicles, four bomb-making sites, in addition to defusing or detonating 378 roadside bombs, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the troops managed to make a significant progress toward the IS-held city of Rawa, about 80 km east of al-Qaim, and took new positions outside the southern edges of the city, a security source from Anbar province told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The IS militants seized large swaths of territory in Iraq in 2014. After three years of battles, the Iraqi forces have retaken most of the occupied areas from the terrorist group, including the country's second largest city Mosul.