Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militias recaptured key parts of the northern refinery town of Baiji from Islamic State militants on Sunday, according to an Iraqi general.
According to an AP report, the commander of the Interior Ministry’s Quick Reaction Forces, Brig. Gen. Nassir al-Fartousi, told state TV that the Iraqi flag was raised on a local government building in Baiji in Salahaddin Province, and that troops were advancing to other areas. He did not give further details.
There was no word on the fate of the contested refinery on the town’s outskirts.
Baiji, about 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, fell to IS militants during its blitz across northern Iraq nearly a year ago, but parts of the town and nearby refinery have since been retaken by government forces.
The town is strategically significant as it lies on the road to IS-held Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have managed to roll back IS in many parts of the country with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, and recaptured the northern city of Tikrit in April.
However last month IS insurgents captured Ramadi, the provincial capital of the western Anbar province, in the extremists’ most significant advance since last year.