KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region--Iraqi forces launched an offensive Wednesday morning towards the center of the town of Hawija to retake it from ISIS militants who have been in control since the summer of 2014.
Commander of Hawija operation Abdul-Amir Rashid Yarallah said that the Federal police, Rapid Response and Hashd al-Shaabi are leading the operation.
A parallel operation is also underway to wrest control of the nearby town of Riyaz.
Hawija, located 55 kilometers southwest of the city of Kirkuk, is considered one of the main ISIS strongholds in Iraq.
The operation has been underway for two weeks and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have largely stayed out of it.