PM Al-Abadi: Iraqi forces start operation to retake Hawija from ISIS
PM Haydar al-Abadi announced Thursday that the operation to retake Hawija, 150km north of Baghdad, from Islamic State occupation began at dawn, after a series of air strikes.
DEBKAfile reported on Sept. 2, and again in its TV program on Sept. 4, that Hawija would be Baghdad’s next target in the campaign to expel ISIS from Iraq. The government of the autonomous Kurdish Republic of northern Iraq objected to the operation, but sent its Pershmerga army to support it all the same, in order to claim a say in the future of a town that holds the key to the Kirkuk oil center.
In four days, the KRG holds its contentious independence referendum, against which Baghdad and Ankara have threatened to use force.