Backed by Sunni tribes and US airstrikes, the Iraqi troops advanced in Haditha in Anbar Province on Sunday.
The forces also have been trying to prevent the ISIL terror group from advancing towards Haditha Dam as US warplanes launched several air raids against the militants early on Sunday.
“We conducted these strikes to prevent terrorists from further threatening the security of the dam, which remains under control of Iraqi security forces, with support from Sunni tribes,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
“They (the airstrikes) were very accurate. There was no collateral damage,” said Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, the leader of a pro-Iraqi government paramilitary force in the west, adding that if the ISIL “had gained control of the dam, many areas of Iraq would have been seriously threatened, even Baghdad.”
The assaults have been Washington’s first reported offensive in the western Anbar province since the county began its attacks on the ISIL militants in the north of the country in August.
The Takfiris have targeted dams since they started their terror campaign in Iraq, and there has been major fighting around Iraq’s largest dam on the Tigris River north of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, which has been a main focus of the US air raids.
The ISIL terrorists, of whom many are foreign militants, currently control parts of eastern Syria and Iraq’s northern and western regions, where they have carried out a spate of atrocities some of which they have videotaped and posted on the Internet
The United Nations has accused the ISIL of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, detailing a campaign of mass detentions and executions in Christian, Turkmen and Izadi Kurdish areas.