Iraq 'clears' IS from key area

BAGDAD - Iraqi government forces say they have cleared Islamic State (IS) militants from a wide area around the strategic Haditha dam, helped by US air strikes.

The jihadists have repeatedly tried to capture the dam on the River Euphrates, in the western province of Anbar.

The US air strikes were the first to have taken place outside northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraq's parliament is scheduled to convene later on Monday to vote on Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi's proposed government.

The make-up of the cabinet has not been revealed, but Mr Abadi is expected to include representatives of all religious and ethnic factions.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Irbil says that should ease tensions between the Shia Arab majority and the Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities, which accused the outgoing administration of pursuing sectarian policies.

It should also allow the US to step up its military assistance, which has been conditional on the formation of a unified and inclusive government.

The leader of a pro-Iraqi government Sunni Arab tribal militia in western Iraq, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, said the air strikes around the Haditha dam had wiped out an IS patrol trying to attack the dam.

"They were very accurate. There was no collateral damage. If Islamic State had gained control of the dam, many areas of Iraq would have been seriously threatened, even Baghdad," he told the Reuters news agency.

Iraqi forces then launched a drive against militants in the Haditha area and regained ground.

"Joint forces backed by air support and tribesmen launched a wide attack to clear the areas surrounding the Haditha district," military spokesman Lt Gen Qassem Atta told the AFP news agency.

Troops and militia also retook Barwana, east of Haditha, from IS fighters, who abandoned their weapons and vehicles while retreating, AFP reported. However, the governor of Anbar, Ahmed al-Dulaimi, was wounded by an explosion shortly after Barwana was retaken.

The US military said the strikes destroyed four Isis Humvees, four armed vehicles, two of which were carrying anti-aircraft guns, a fighting position, one command post and a defensive fighting position.

Comments (1)

In Syria, the US arms and trains the IS terrorists to fight Assad, and in Iraq, the US bombs those same terrosists. Is the one sponsoring terrorists not a terrorist, too? Answer please Barak.

machakachaka - 8 September 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.