Iraq has announced the start of an offensive aimed at recapturing its western province of Anbar from the group calling itself Islamic State.
The region has been controlled by militants from the group since May.
‘‘The military operations to liberate Anbar started at dawn today,” Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesperson for the Joint Operations Command said in a televised address. “Our armed forces along with al-Hashd al-Shaabi fighters, special forces, federal police and Anbar tribes-people are now engaged in intense fighting and advancing toward their agreed targets.”
News of the fresh offensive comes as Iraq received an initial delivery of F16 fighter jets from the United States. The arrival of the four aircraft was delayed due to security concerns after the May insurgency.
UN figures suggest nearly 7,800 were killed in fighting in Anbar in June alone.