Iraqi forces tighten noose on Daesh in Baiji, Hawijah, Ramadi

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Iraqi army troops, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization units, have advanced on three fronts against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Baiji, Hawijah, Ramadi, further tightening the noose on militants.

In Kirkuk province, Iraqi forces managed to regain control of the al-Rashad area of the Hawija district, located southwest of the provincial capital Kirkuk, on Sunday, the Iraqi News online newspaper reported.

They also made advances against the terror group around al-Fatha area, west of Kirkuk, and near Allas oil field in the south. At least 30 terrorists were slain during the operation.

Meanwhile, government forces flushed out terrorists from most of the city of Baiji and its surroundings and started searching for bombs and booby-trapped houses.

Baiji, located in the restive province of Salahuddin, is some 200 kilometers north of capital Baghdad and has the country’s largest oil refinery in its vicinity.

The latest developments came days after Iraqi armed forces launched a new large-scale military offensive to regain full control of Baiji.

As for Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, Iraqi forces succeeded in liberating some militant-held areas and further tightening their siege around the city.

“Albu Farraj neighborhood is under full control now. The city of Ramadi is completely isolated from the northern side now,” said Major General Ismail Mahalawi, from Anbar Operations Command, according to AFP.

Iraq has been grappling with a deadly insurgency since the summer of 2014 when Daesh seized control of some territories west and north of the Arab country. The Takfiri terrorist group has claimed dozens of bombing attacks on areas outside of its control across Iraq, including those in central and eastern provinces.

The Iraqi military and popular forces have managed to expel the militants from some key areas, including Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin Province, which was declared liberated at the end of March.

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