Iraqi Forces Reclaim Key Village

Iraqi forces, bolstered by coalition airstrikes, have retaken the Anbar village of Hit, the site of ISIS’ chemical weapons production. On April 11, Iraqi Security Forces raised the Iraq flag on the main government building in the village, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said during a Wednesday briefing. US-led coalition aircraft conducted 21 airstrikes during the ISF advance on the village, hitting 108 enemy targets, and killing 500 ISIS fighters. The coalition, on March 17, struck ISIS facilities in the town, which included chemical weapon infrastructure, Warren said at the time. The Iraqi victory shows that the first phase of the fight against ISIS—degrading the terrorist group—is over and the second phase of dismantling the group is underway, said Warren. “ISIL has lost more than 40 percent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and in Syria,” he said. However, as Iraqi troops get closer to the stronghold of Mosul, the fight will get harder. “This enemy does not want to give up,” Warren said. “They want to preserve their defense in depth along the Tigris River and they will continue to fight hard,” he said.