Iraqi forces push north into IS-held Hawija

Despite a lack of close coordination with Peshmerga, federal security forces started an offensive to retake the IS group's last major stronghold in northern Iraq.
A member of the Iraqi security forces holds his weapon during a raid and weapons search operation in Hawija on April 24, 2014. (YAHYA AHMAD/Reuters)

Iraqi security forces launched an offensive Thursday to expel the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) from Hawija – one of the militant group's last strongholds in Iraq, from which it has been able to attack oil infrastructure and steal crude from nearby oil wells.

The much-anticipated assault begins on the heels of an ongoing operation to recapture the other remaining IS bastion in Iraq, in the western part of Anbar province.

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