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Iraq forces retake IS bastion Hawija

BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces retook one of the Islamic State group's last two enclaves in the country on Thursday, overrunning the longtime insurgent bastion of Hawija after a two-week offensive. IS once held one-third of Iraqi territory but it has suffered loss after loss this year and now only controls a slither of land in the Euphrates Valley near the Syrian border. "I announce the liberation of the city of Hawija," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a news conference in Paris. "All that remains is the strip on the border…

Turkey slams Kurdish decision to fly flag in Kirkuk

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Wednesday voiced its opposition to a vote in the disputed oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk to fly the Kurdish flag over government buildings, warning against "unilateral steps". Provincial councillors in Kirkuk province voted Tuesday to fly the Kurdish regional flag, a move likely to escalate tensions between Baghdad and Ankara. Iraqi Kurds are close to Ankara, but Turkey said it opposed flying the flag because it does not want any change in Kirkuk, which is also home to Turkmens. Kirkuk is at the…

Attack in Iraq’s Kirkuk over, 74 IS militants dead: governor

KIRKUK: Iraqi security forces on Monday ended an attack by the Islamic State group in Kirkuk city, killing at least 74 militants in three days of clashes, the provincial governor said. "The attack is over and life has returned to normal," Najmeddin Karim, the governor of Kirkuk province said. "The security forces have killed more than 74 Daesh (IS) terrorists and detained several others, including their leader." Karim said the initial confessions of the ringleader confirmed reports that around 100 fighters attacked Kirkuk…

Iraq forces have killed 48 IS attackers in Kirkuk: police chief

KIRKUK: Iraqi security forces have killed 48 of the gunmen who stormed parts of Kirkuk in a shock attack claimed by the Islamic State group, the city's police chief said. "Forty-eight Daesh (IS) terrorists have been killed in the clashes," Brigadier General Khattab Omar Aref told AFP, adding that some of them blew themselves up when the security forces cornered them. Special counter-terrorism and intelligence units were hunting down some of the dozens of IS fighters who stormed public buildings in the early hours of…