Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Iraqi forces will move to free the strategic northern city of Mosul once they have liberated Anbar’s provincial capital city of Ramadi from the Islamic State (Daesh).
“The liberation of dear Mosul will be achieved with the cooperation and unity of all Iraqis after the victory in Ramadi,” Abadi said in a statement on Friday.
The comments came on the same day as volunteer fighters purged areas in al-Karmah some 48 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, and adjacent areas of Daesh militants following intense clashes.
On Thursday evening, Iraqi intelligence forces and army troops launched an operation in Ramadi, about 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, and captured a high-ranking Daesh militant commander identified by the nom de guerre Abu Bakr.
They also secured a road in the town of Albu Faraj, located more than 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of the capital, clearing booby-trapped houses and defusing several improvised explosive devices.
Iraqi volunteer troopers also destroyed several explosives-laden vehicles in the al-Sabihat region of Karmah as Daesh militants sought to ram the cars into the positions of the Popular Mobilization units.
Additionally, Iraqi security forces repelled a Daesh offensive against the Sab’in district in the troubled western province of Anbar on Thursday, killing seven militants in the process. The rest of Daesh members reportedly fled the scene after the unsuccessful bid.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Daesh began an offensive through Iraqi territory in June 2014. Army soldiers and Popular Mobilization units have joined forces and are seeking to take back militant-held regions in joint operations.