BHIT, IRAQ – Iraqi forces say they have taken the northern edge of the Islamic State group held town of Hit, 85 miles (140 km) west of Baghdad, after hundreds of roadside bombs littering the surrounding area slowed progress for days.
Bombs planted by Islamic State in fields and along main roads leading in and out of Hit repeatedly brought convoys of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces to a standstill Sunday as they moved to encircle the area. The U.S.-led coalition said Iraqi forces are in Hit’s outskirts and are still working to surround the town.
Hit lies along a supply line linking the extremist group’s fighters in Iraq to those in neighboring Syria. Iraqi and coalition officials say retaking the town will be a key step before an eventual push on Islamic State-held Mosul.