The Iraqi Army, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Forces, has fully liberated the strategic Khaldiyah Island in western Anbar province from Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Hadi al-Ameri, the commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), known as Hashd al-Shaabi, told the Arabic-language al-Sumaria news on Monday that Iraqi government forces successfully established full control over Khaldiyah, a river peninsula and populated area in Anbar province, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, commander of Iraqi Federal Police Forces, also confirmed that the area is fully cleared from Daesh terrorists.
“Today we declare the liberation of Jazirat al-Khaldiyah. This area was occupied by the enemy for a long time. After pleas from the Iraqi people and Anbar province officials, the Federal Police, Hashd al-Shaabi, the Islamic Resistance groups, Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Air force liberated the area which is vital for the Iraqi economy because it connects the Japanese bridge and the international border crossing with Jordan,” he said.
This came after a two-week long battle between Iraqi armed forces and Daesh terrorists along the Euphrates River.
A footage filmed by the Associated Press shows Iraqi troops and pro-government forces firing at Daesh’s targets from both the air and the ground.
Daesh terrorists have taken shelter in the area since being expelled from the city of Fallujah more than a month ago.
Sources say the capture of al-Khaldiyah has opened the highway between the two strategic cities of Fallujah and al-Ramadi.
Iraqi government forces launch rockets into positions held by the Daesh terrorist group in the area of Khaldiyah, east of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, on July 31, 2016. (AFP photo)
The developments come as Iraq is preparing for an offensive into Mosul, the country’s second largest city which fell into the hands of Daesh in the summer of 2014. The city is the last remaining bastion of Daesh in Iraq as the military and allies have managed to retake key towns and villages from the militants over the past months.
Iraqis managed to recapture the city of Fallujah, west of the capital Baghdad, in late June. The city was a main hub of Daesh militancy in Iraq and its liberation boosted hope for Iraq’s final push toward Mosul.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists began a campaign of terror in the country in June 2014, when they overran Mosul and declared it their so-called headquarters in Iraq.
The Daesh terrorists have gained notoriety for their barbarity, heinous atrocities and sacrilegious acts. The militants have been accused of committing gross human rights violations and war crimes in the areas they control in Iraq and neighboring Syria.