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Iraqi troops retake 2 towns in eastern province - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi Shi'ite fighters pose with an Islamic State flag which they pulled down on the front line in Jalula. (Reuters)

Iraqi Shi’ite fighters pose with an Islamic State flag which they pulled down on the front line in Jalula. (Reuters)

Baghdad, AP—Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militiamen and Kurdish security forces recaptured two towns seized previously by militants in an eastern province, said Iraqi officials on Monday, a new victory for Iraqi security forces in their attempt to regain areas lost to the militants.

Police officials in Diyala province said that Iraqi forces entered the towns of Saadiya and Jalula late Sunday after fierce clashes with fighters from the Islamic State group.

The fighting is still continuing with some pockets of resistance outside the two towns, said the police officials. Teams defusing unexploded ordnance are working to defuse roadside bombs planted in the streets by the militants before their withdrawal.

Some families that fled the area have already started to come back to their homes in the two towns. Kurdish security forces, known also as peshmerga took part in the fighting against the IS group in both towns. Diyala province is ethnically mixed between Arabs and Kurds, and Jalula has a large Kurdish community.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Islamic militants seized the towns of Jalula, 80 miles (125 km) northeast of Baghdad, and Saadiya, 60 miles (95 km) north of the capital in August after a stunning summer blitz which enabled the Islamic State group to take over large swaths of land in the country’s north and west.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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