Iraqi army forces and allied tribesmen have recaptured Haditha Island in western Iraq from the ISIS extremist group, a military commander said Wednesday.
“Our forces have liberated the island, 160 kilometres west of the Anbar province,” Major General Qassim al-Mohammadi told Anadolu Agency.
The move came one day after Iraqi forces launched a military offensive to liberate the northern Shirqat district and two other areas in the western Anbar province from ISIS.
“Our forces and allied tribal fighters are now moving to liberate al-Baghdadi Island from ISIS group,” al-Mohammadi said.
According to the military commander, Iraqi forces have defused scores of explosive devices and destroyed rocket launchers in Haditha Island.
According to regional media reports, as covered by Fars, clearing the island from ISIS extremists “will diminish the danger posed by the extremist group on Haditha city and al-Baghdadi district,” he said.
Iraq’s security situation has deteriorated markedly since mid-2014, when ISIS captured Mosul — the country’s second largest city — along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army — backed by US-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground — has since managed to retake much territory. Nevertheless, the extremist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly vowed to recapture Mosul by the end of the year.