Iraqi forces say most of Baiji town recaptured from Islamic State

BAGHDAD – Iraqi forces have cleared Islamic State militants from most of the northern town of Baiji and hope to drive them from the nearby oil refinery within days, a spokesman for the Shi’ite militias leading the fight said on Thursday. Islamic State fighters swept into Baiji, about 190 km (120 miles) north of Baghdad, a year ago during their lightning takeover of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim provinces. The town and refinery – the country’s largest – have been battlefronts since then. Ahmed al-Asadi, a Hashd Shaabi spokesman, said there were still “pockets of resistance” to the northeast and northwest of the town, and Islamic State fighters were trying to launch attacks from Siniya village, 5 km to the west. “I can say that over 90 percent of the district has been cleared and the remaining areas will be done in the coming hours,” he told a news conference in Baghdad. “The enemy still controls a part of the refinery, but the more important parts are under the control of the Hashd and other branches of the armed forces,” he said.



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