IraqMiddle East

Iraqi forces gain new ground against ISIL militants: Officers

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Iraqi security forces backed by volunteers have retaken areas captured by the ISIL terrorist group for months near the Iranian border, a number of military officers say.

“Army and police and [volunteer] forces attacked from the southern and western sides of the Jalawla and Saadiyah [areas], while [Kurdish] Peshmerga forces attacked from the northern and eastern sides of Saadiyah,” Iraq’s Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi said on Sunday.

The Iraqi forces seized control of the areas as part of an operation which was launched early Sunday in the country’s northeastern province of Diyala.

Meanwhile, Karim al-Nuri, a top commander of Badr volunteer fighters, said the operation left 12 members of the anti-ISIL forces dead.

Another army brigadier general, whose name was not mentioned, also noted that captured areas were “the main centers of support for [ISIL] militants.”

The two areas are important because of their proximity to the autonomous Kurdish region which is battling the jihadists.

Sunday’s operation came on the heels of another which led to recapture of the strategic northern town of Baiji from the militants and ended a months-long siege of Iraq’s largest refinery.

The Iraqi army has so far managed to make numerous gains in the fight against the ISIL militants, pledging to continue the battle against the extremist group.

The ISIL militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations, against Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.

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