World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi forces have advanced on the city of Hit in Iraq’s western Anbar province at the expense of the ISIL terrorist group, according to an Iraqi military official.
Major-General Ismail al-Mahlawi, Iraqi army commander for Anbar operations, said that Iraqi forces had managed to "liberate" Hit’s Al-Moallimin district, along with parts of the city center.
"[Army-linked] Counter-terrorism forces managed to liberate the Al-Moallimin district today… from the grip of the ISIL terrorist organization," al-Mahlawi told Anadolu Agency.
He added: "The liberation of Al-Moallimin followed the withdrawal of ISIL elements, which couldn’t withstand the security forces’ firepower and the fierce airstrikes we rained down upon them."
"The Iraqi army’s Seventh Battalion today also began operations to liberate the road linking the Al-Baghdadi area to the city of Hit, which they are now clearing of mines and explosive devices," he said.
Al-Mahlawi did not mention whether ongoing operations in Hit -- or those aimed at taking the strategic road -- had resulted in casualties from either side.
In a related development, Iraqi sources on Tuesday said ISIL militants had executed five Iraqi soldiers south of Mosul in the northern Nineveh province.
An Iraqi security source told Anadolu Agency that the five soldiers were hanged in the Al-Qayyarah district, located some 60 kilometers south of Mosul, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that ISIL militants had captured the soldiers on Monday amid clashes that occurred in the village of Al-Nasr in the Mahmour district southeast of Mosul.
A resident of Al-Qayyarah, speaking to Anadolu Agency by phone, confirmed the execution of the five Iraqi soldiers.
The slain soldiers belong to the Iraqi army’s 15th division, which on Monday launched an offensive aimed at retaking the village of Al-Nasr, where fierce battles remained ongoing as of midday Tuesday.
The Iraqi army on Monday announced it had killed 30 ISIL militants during the fight for Al-Nasr.
On March 24, the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced the launch of a much-anticipated offensive aimed at retaking Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
Since then, the Iraqi army and Sunni forces have struck at Mosul’s Mahmour district from three directions, while Kurdish peshmerga forces have played a supporting role in the offensive.
Iraq has been dogged by rampant insecurity since 2014, when ISIL overran Mosul and declared a self-styled "caliphate" in parts of Iraq and Syria.Last Mod: 06 Nisan 2016, 10:00