Dozens of IS militants killed in airstrike by Iraqi troops in Hawija

Dozens of Islamic State militants were killed, while hideouts were destroyed in an airstrike launched against Hawija district in Kirkuk, the War Media Cell reported.

“Iraqi jets launched on Thursday several airstrikes northwest of Haditha lake, destroying two hideouts and killing dozens of militants inside,” the WMC said in a statement, adding that a weapon stash was also destroyed.

The jets also “launched airstrikes in Abbassi district in Hawija, which left four hideouts destroyed and several militants, most of whom were foreigners, killed,” the statement added.

Hawija, located 55 KM west of Kirkuk, has been held by IS since mid-2014.

Last month, news reports quoted sources as saying that the extremist group opened alternative headquarters for its so-called “Nineveh State, “Dijlah State”, “Salahuddin State” and “Diyala State” in Hawija.

IS still holds three towns in western Anbar close to the borders with Syria, in addition to a few areas in Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk. The Iraqi government is expected to aim at those strongholds once the Mosul battle is concluded.

Dozens of residents from Hawija and the regions in its vicinity escape to Kirkuk province on a daily basis. Despite the risky routes to the freed regions, the civilians prefer death to staying under IS control.