Tuesday 6 December 2016

Iraqi troops recapture key parts of Beiji from Isis

Published 08/06/2015 | 10:32

A mosque that Shi'ite fighters said was destroyed by Islamic State militants is seen at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
A mosque that Shi'ite fighters said was destroyed by Islamic State militants is seen at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Shi'ite fighters ride military vehicles at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. Picture taken June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Shi'ite fighters ride military vehicles at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. Picture taken June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
A Shi'ite fighter walks next to a sign at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. Picture taken June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Shi'ite fighters chant slogans after they said that they liberated the area, at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Smoke rises from a bomb clearing conducted by Shi'ite fighters at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Head of the Badr Organisation and Shi'ite paramilitary commander Hadi al-Amiri (C) walks with Shiite fighters at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
Shi'ite fighters ride on military vehicles at Lake Tharthar, west of Samarra, June 6, 2015. Picture taken June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
A member of the government-run Hashid Shabi, or popular mobilisation committee, gives a block of ice to displaced Sunnis to cool off at Camp Al-Amal in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, after they fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
An ambulance transfers the body of Tariq Aziz, who was foreign minister of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, at a hospital in Nasiriyah city, south of Baghdad June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
In this Thursday, June 4, 2015 photo, Iraqi Federal Police and Shiite Hezbollah Brigade militiamen fight against the Islamic State group as they defend their positions on the front line in eastern Husaybah, 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of Ramadi, Iraq. (AP Photo)
Iraqi Federal Police and Shiite Hezbollah Brigade militiamen fighting against the Islamic State group as they defend their positions on the front line in eastern Husaybah, 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of Ramadi, Iraq. (AP Photo)

Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militias have recaptured key parts of the northern refinery town of Beiji from Islamic State militants.

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The commander of the Interior Ministry's Quick Reaction Forces, Brigadier General Nassir al-Fartousi, told state TV that the Iraqi flag was raised on a local government building in Beiji and that troops were advancing to other areas.

There was no word on the fate of the contested refinery on the town's outskirts.

Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, fell to the extremist IS group during its blitz across northern Iraq nearly a year ago, but parts of the town and nearby refinery have since been retaken by government forces. The town is strategically significant as it lies on the road to IS-held Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have managed to roll back the Islamic State group in many parts of the country with the help of US-led airstrikes, and recaptured the northern city of Tikrit in April. But last month the IS group captured Ramadi, the provincial capital of the western Anbar province, in the extremists' most significant advance since last year.

IS has declared an Islamic caliphate in the territories it controls in Syria and Iraq, and has used oil facilities and smuggling to finance much of its operations.

Press Association

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