“Army, Federal Police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi, backed by military jets, concluded the first part of the second phase of the operations,” said the country’s war media outlet.
It added that the focus of the combing operations was on the villages and regions between South of Hatra and North of Rawah.
“Our forces were capable of combing 175 villages, five bridges and crossings as well as an airport on an area of 14,100 square kilometers,” it said, adding that large amounts of equipment left behind by the terrorists were discovered and destroyed.
Relevant reports said on Sunday that Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces retook control of four villages as part of a large-scale military operation to dislodge the remnants of the ISIL terrorist group from their hideouts in the desert in Northern Iraq.
The media bureau of the volunteer pro-government forces, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced in a statement on Saturday that they had recaptured the villages of Shaheriyah, Tar al-Baghal, al-Hajal and Wadi az Qaytoun Southwest of Hawijah, located 45 kilometers West of the Northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The development came only a day after the commander of Upper Euphrates and al-Jazira Liberation Operations, Major General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said the Iraqi army, PMF brigades and federal police forces had established control over 45 villages as they cleared some 2,400 square kilometers of land from the ISIL militants.
The troops destroyed two car bomb-making sites, five booby-trapped vehicles and two vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, along with detonating and defusing more than 450 explosive devices, Yarallah noted.