IS pounce on 'security gaps' and retake Iraqi town

IS pounce on 'security gaps' and retake Iraqi town
IS have reversed gains by Iraq's government and tribal forces in the western town of Hit, taking advantage of security gaps, as the Iraqi army concentrates on retaking Fallujah.
2 min read
30 May, 2016
IS has taken advantage of Iraqi forces' preoccupation with the Battle of Fallujah [AFP]
The Islamic State group has retaken large parts of Hit, an Iraqi town in Anbar province, sources told The New Arab

The takeover comes less than two months after the Iraqi government declared it a "liberated city".

The group seized the neighbourhoods of al-Jamia, al-Iskan, al-Jari, the old market, and other districts in the west and south of the town, an Iraqi security official said.

Fierce street battles are still taking place between IS militants, and Iraqi government and tribal forces, with the US-led air coalition providing support to pro-Baghdad fighters.

"IS entered the town on Sunday, taking advantage of security gaps," Sheikh Mohammed al-Dulaimi, member of the Tribal Council - a Sunni Arab formation that opposes the the jihadi group - told The New Arab.

A large number of IS militants were killed in the attack, he added, but the group has since regrouped and waged a new attack at dawn on Monday.

Colonel Hassan al-Abadi, from the Iraqi army command, confirmed the clashes later. In a phone call with The New Arab, he confirmed IS have seized parts of the town, but downplayed their advance, claiming they would be "purged" soon.

The security breach comes as Iraqi forces concentrate on taking the IS stronghold of Fallujah, with anti-terrorism teams slowly advancing to the city centre.

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