Iraqi forces capture Hawija town from Islamic State


"This a victory not only for Iraqis but also for the whole world", Abadi said, as he announced the town's recapture after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Iraqi security forces have completed a "swift and decisive" victory in liberating the city of Hawija from the grasp of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said today.

The offensive on Hawija was carried out by US -backed Iraqi government troops and Iranian-trained and armed Shi'ite paramilitary groups known as Popular Mobilization.

IG kept liberated by the Iraqi army Hawija 2014.

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The United States has opposed the Kurdish referendum, saying it would threaten cooperation between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the fight against the Islamic State at a time when the extremist group is reeling from consecutive military defeats.

A total of 196 militants were killed and 96 villages around the town were liberated during the fighting, he added.

The jihadist group still controls large parts of the valley in the neighbouring Syrian province of Deir al-Zour, but it is under pressure there from Syrian pro-government forces and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.

ISIS's self-declared "caliphate" effectively collapsed in July, when US-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, after a gruelling nine-month battle.

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Hawija is close to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Iraq launched an offensive on September 21 to dislodge Daesh from the area north of Baghdad where up to 78,000 people are estimated to be trapped, according to the UN. They have since retaken the town of Anna and are expected to target Raqqa and finally al-Qaim.

The French military is active in the USA -led coalition against IS, which is trying to oust the extremists from their last Iraqi strongholds. "All that remains is the strip on the border with Syria".

"They are advancing and the goal is to take seven neighbourhoods of Hawija and 12 vital objectives", he said, without providing more details.

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