Iraq launches anti-Islamic State operation near border with Syria

ANBAR, IRAQ, Ahmed al-Delmi (dpa)- Iraqi forces on Sunday started a massive operation against the remnants of the Islamic State militant group near the border with Syria, a senior military official said.
In December 2017, Iraq declared victory over Islamic State, having recaptured the large swathes of territory taken by the extremists in 2014 and 2015.

However, Islamic State operatives have since carried out several attacks and kidnappings targeting security forces and civilians in different parts of the country.
The campaign, initiated on Sunday, targets extremists in areas stretching from Iraq's northern provinces of Salah al-Din and Nineveh to the western province of Anbar near the Syrian border, Lieutenant-General Abdul Ameer Rashid said in a press statement.
Iraqi army forces and militia fighters are participating in the operation supported by a US-led alliance fighting the radical Sunni Islamic State.
"The operation will continue for several days," Rashid said without details.
Shortly after, pro-government Shiite militia the Public Mobilization said its fighters had destroyed an Islamic State camp near the north-western town of al-Ba'aij.
The camp included logistics supplies for the militants, the militia forced added, according to independent Iraqi news portal Alsumaria.
The Public Mobilization played a key role in Iraq's three-year campaign against Islamic State.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi hailed the new offensive.
"We will achieve an emphatic victory over the gangs of terrorist Daesh," he said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
"They [the Iraqi forces] will add new victories to their record of victories," he added, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.
In recent weeks, Islamic State militants have been suspected of setting fire to vast tracts of wheat and barley crops in several provinces in Iraq. The blazes struck amid the harvest season.

Thursday, July 11th 2019
Ahmed al-Delmi (dpa)

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