Iraqi forces have been making more advances against the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in the northern Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces.
Clashes resumed on Saturday in Kirkuk Province between the terrorists and Iraqi security forces. The country’s Arabic-language al-Sumaria TV network reported that joint security forces comprising Iraqi troops and volunteer fighters had killed nine Daesh terrorists in the east of the province.
Daesh infiltrated the Kurdish-controlled city on Friday in an attempt to open a new front against the Iraqi security forces and thereby diverting it from the most important battle underway in the country to liberate Nineveh’s provincial capital of Mosul, located 178 kilometers (110 miles) away from Kirkuk.
The invasion prompted Baghdad to send in reinforcements. Special counter-terrorism and intelligence units were hunting down some of the dozens of Daesh terrorists who stormed public buildings in the early hours of Friday.
“We have 46 dead and 133 wounded, most of them members of the security services, as result of the clashes with Daesh,” an Interior Ministry official told AFP.
The official said at least 25 Daesh attackers had also been killed so far and several others wounded, including a Libyan believed to be among the raid’s masterminds. It was not clear if the nine militants reported by al-Sumariah were among the 25.
Iraq’s war media reported that the country’s troops had liberated two villages in the town of Qayyarah in Nineveh. Anti-terror units also entered the Keremles district to the southeast of the city.
The province’s al-Hamdaniya town, also known as Qaraqosh, was reported to have witnessed a bombing attack amid a gathering of Iraqi forces as Takfiris try to slow the servicemen’s advance through various attacks.
The troops, however, managed to liberate the town’s central area, including its hospital, raising the national flag atop its buildings and retaking the province’s al-Askariyah district.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim Abdullah al-Jabouri, meanwhile, said security forces had raided the Safinah Village in Nineveh’s al-Shourah district. The village is situated parallel to the Tigris River, and is of much strategic importance.
Daesh militants also blew up the Ninevah Oberoi Hotel, one of the province’s biggest hotels. They also executed around 285 people in Mosul, according to reports.
Also on Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised that the situation would turn for the better in Mosul, saying that the country was observing the last stages of Daesh’s military presence in the country.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has arrived in Iraq to get briefings on the battle for Mosul from the US forces in Iraq.
In another development, Iraqi joint forces liberated a sulphur factory located south of Mosul, a day after Daesh militants set it on fire releasing toxic smoke over the area.
The US forces stationed at Iraq’s Qayyarah West airfield near Mosul wore protective masks after winds brought fumes from the nearby burning sulfur plant, US military officials said on Saturday.
By Press TV