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Iraqi forces advance in Hawija as UN says over 70,000 civilians trapped by IS

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Military officials say Iraqi forces captured an air base from the Islamic State (IS) near the city of Hawija on Monday, as the UN announced that up to 78,000 people could be trapped in the town. The US-backed Iraqi troops, supported by the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia and the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, retook the strategic position as they continue to progress on the IS-held town. However, Iraqi security officials say the militants prevent some residents from leaving, while others are afraid of escaping toward government forces because of the explosives that might have been laid by the extremist group around the city. The Hawija operation was launched on Sep. 21 to dislodge the jihadist group from its last stronghold in northern Iraq, west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

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