Iraqi forces recapture key town from IS militants

Iraqi forces recapture key town from IS militants
Islamic State militants have taken yet another blow as Iraqi forces recapture the strategic town of Heet in the Anbar province, west of Baghdad, after weeks of fighting.
1 min read
14 April, 2016
The recapture of the town, west of Baghdad, was completed on Thursday [AFP]
Iraqi forces retook the town of Heet from the Islamic State [IS] group on Thursday after weeks of fighting, the latest in a series of losses for the militants.

"Units from the Counter-Terrorism Service completely liberated Heet," Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

The recapture of the town west of Baghdad was completed on Thursday, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Noman said.

"The town of Heet is cleared of any Daesh gunmen," Noman said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

After securing Anbar capital Ramadi, Iraqi forces launched an operation in mid-March aimed at retaking Heet, one of the largest population centres in the province still under IS control.

But the drive was apparently delayed by a two-week sit-in by supporters of powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, as forces were pulled from Anbar to protect them.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, and captured Anbar capital Ramadi the following year.

Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes and training have since regained significant ground from the militants.

But IS still holds territory in Anbar and much of Nineveh province to its north, and it is also able to carry out frequent attacks against civilians and security forces in government-held areas.