The Iraqi army has captured at least 200 foreign terrorists in the western province of Anbar, the commander of the Anbar Operations Command says.
Major General Qasim al-Mohammadi made the remarks on Monday, stressing that the Iraqi security forces, backed by forces belonging to the Popular Mobilization units, arrested the terrorists in different areas across the restive province.
He further noted that the Iraqi forces are gearing up for a major operation to retake the provincial capital city of Ramadi, part of which has been reportedly occupied by the terrorist.
Meanwhile, the Hezbollah Brigades, a group fighting the ISIL Takfiri group in Iraq, announced in a statement earlier in the day that “in coordination with security forces” it has arrested hundreds of non-Iraqi terrorists in an operation near Ramadi.
The group further noted that Iraqi forces have put a siege on Ramadi from three directions and are prepared to retake the city.
Iraqi forces retook the town of Husaybah in Anbar on Saturday as they advanced towards Ramadi. On the same day, security officials said the Iraqi army and volunteer fighters jointly repelled an ISIL attack on the town of Khalidiya, located about 83 kilometers (50 miles) west of Baghdad.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIL started its campaign of terror in early June 2014. The army and volunteer forces have been engaged in joint operations to liberate the areas under the ISIL control ever since.
Reports said on Monday that Iraqi forces managed to kill eight members of the terrorist group during an operation in the villages near the strategic northern city of Baiji in Salahuddin province. It was also said that the Iraqi force dismantled over 300 explosive devices in the operation.
Three members of the Takfiri group, intending to carry out terrorist attacks in another area in the city, were also reportedly killed.
Meanwile, Khaled al-Khazraji, a Salahuddin Provincial Council official, also said that the Iraqi forces have tightened the noose around the militants in the Baiji refinery and the oil facility will be fully liberated soon.
“The next few hours will witness the complete liberation of Baiji’s refinery,” Khazraji said.
Elsewhere in Salahuddin, three members of the terrorist group were killed while trying to plant bombs in the holy city of Samarra.
Media reports said earlier in the day that Iraq’s Shia and Sunni volunteer forces managed to take full control of the Hajjaj district, north of the city of Tikrit, the Salahuddin provincial capital, which was liberated from the ISIL’s grip in late March.
The Iraqi military, backed by volunteer forces, has since been pushing its way towards areas still under the control of the Takfiri terrorists.
The strategic city, located some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, was overrun by the ISIL terrorists in summer 2014 along with Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul and other areas in the Arab country’s Sunni heartland.
The recapture of Tikrit was crucial for the Iraqi army in its quest to take control of Mosul.