Airstrikes target Islamic State-held town in Iraq

KIRKUK, IRAQ (dpa) - Iraq on Friday unleashed a series of airstrikes on Hawija, one of the last areas that are still under the control of the extremist militia in the country, a military statement said.
Iraqi warplanes, backed by a US-led alliance airpower, targeted Islamic State positions in the town of Hawija in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, the statement added.

The bombing resulted in killing tens of militants and destroying their facilities, it said without further details.
Earlier Friday, Iraqi warplanes dropped leaflets in Hawija, demanding Islamic State extremists to surrender.
Islamic State took control of Hawija in mid-2014.
Iraqi forces are preparing to launch a ground offensive on the town, encouraged by recent military success against Islamic State.
In July, Iraq retook control of Mosul, Islamic State's key stronghold in the north, after a campaign of nearly nine months.
Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the radical group in Tel Afar, west of Mosul.
Islamic State still controls Hawija as well as western areas in the country's largest province of Anbar.
In recent months, the hardline group has suffered military setbacks and lost ground in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Saturday, September 9th 2017

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