Iraqi forces begin operation to retake Hawija from IS group

In a push at dawn, Iraqi forces launched an operation on Thursday to retake the town of Hawija — one of the last extremist strongholds in Iraq — from the Islamic State group, according to a statement from the Iraqi prime minister's office.

The operation began just two days after Iraqi forces began an offensive against IS holdouts in Iraq's vast western Anbar province, said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Hawija, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad, is one of the last pockets of territory held by the extremist group in the country. IS has been steadily losing ground and seeing its sprawling caliphate that in 2014 spanned a third of the territory of Iraq and also...