Iraqis retake town from ISIL near Jordan

Iraqi government forces have regained control of a remote western town from the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says.

Mr Abadi announced that counter-terrorism troops, backed by tribesmen and US-led coalition air strikes, had raised the Iraqi flag in central Rutba.

Rutba was an important "support zone" used by IS to stage operations further north and east, the coalition said.

The town, on the main road to Jordan, was seized by IS two years ago.

It is also located south of a key IS-controlled border crossing with Syria, which the group uses to move militants and supplies to its strongholds in Iraq.

Despite its importance, the coalition believed Rutba was not as heavily defended as the IS-held city of Falluja, with as few as 100 militants based there.
Attrition is taking a toll on ISIL's ability to hold and defend areas it has captured previously.  The group is resorting to terrorist attacks inside Iraqi in an attempt to distract Iraqi forces from their push to retake other areas now held by ISIL.  That is consistent with their past strategy, but differs slightly in that they are using terrorist tactics rather than take and hold tactics.  That is probably a result of their shrinking manpower.


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