An Iraqi army lieutenant colonel said the military, backed by local tribal fighters, began the operation against militant hideouts early Thursday.
“The security forces are advancing from an area called ‘Kilometer 160’, west of [Anbar provincial capital city,] Ramadi, towards [the town of] Nukhayb,” the officer added.
Furthermore, Iraqi Major General Mahmud al-Falahi, the head of Anbar Operations Command, said the Anbar push was aimed at flushing Daesh out of the desert regions and securing the town of Rutbah.
Anbar is the largest Iraqi province and borders Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It has been a militant stronghold since 2014 when Daesh swept through Iraq.
The Iraqi forces have managed to retake most of the towns and cities in Anbar, but the terrorists still control areas near the Syrian border.
Separately on Thursday, the head of the security committee of the Diyala governorate’s general office announced that a Daesh ringleader, identified as Abu Ghatibah, was killed in a rocket attack on the terror outfit’s hideout near the city of Baqubah.
Abu Ghatibah was close to Daesh leader, Ibrahim al-Samarrai, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the official pointed out.