Liberation efforts underway for 100K civilians trapped by Isis in Hawija, Iraq

Liberation efforts underway for 100K civilians trapped by Isis in Hawija, Iraq
Wed Sep 6, 2017 10:47:53

Military operations are being set in place to free more than 100,000 civilians besieged by the Isis terror group in Hawija, Iraq, officials said Tuesday.

(UPI) -- Hawija has been occupied by Isis since mid-2014 when the militant group claimed the city as part of its caliphate. The group has since executed civilians and security members there, causing many residents to flee.

Since the loss of the Isis stronghold in Mosul, Hawija has become the main Iraqi bastion for the group.

Iraqi government forces are setting their sites for Hawija after liberating the city of Tal Afar -- another former Isis stronghold -- last week, and are anticipating that the Isis will use the remaining civilians as human shields.

"Additional forces are sent from Baghdad to prepare for the upcoming battle. We are not going to rush this campaign. Our priority will be the evacuation of civilians trapped in Hawija -- located [187 miles] north of Baghdad -- by [Isis] terrorists. Our plan is unequivocal in this regard," said Brigadier General Yahya Rasul, a spokesperson for the Iraqi army.

A source told Iraqi News that the government should provide civilians with safe passageways to escape ahead of the battle.

The Iraqi army has since dropped dozens of leaflets to inform the residents of Hawija that the terror of Isis will soon come to an end for them, leading Hawija residents to kill four militant leaders in anticipation.

Mohamed Hineidi, a senior analyst at the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi, predicted a lengthy battle for the Iraqi army.

"Isis realizes that very soon it will lose all territory, including Hawija ... but it will try and put up a strong fight in order to provide itself with the ability to project power to launch terror attacks across Iraq in the future," said Hineidi.

(Photo: The Iraqi army, pictured after liberating Mosul, are now headed for Hawija to help more than 100,000 civilians, officials said. by Hana Noori/UPI )

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