Iraqi forces retake town from IS

Iraqi forces outside Rutba

RUTBA - Iraqi security forces on Tuesday regained full control of a western town that was attacked by Islamic State group militants two days earlier, officials said.
Seeking to draw attention away from an offensive to retake the city of Mosul, IS struck the town of Rutba in the country's west and Kirkuk in the north in recent days.
"Our forces completely cleared the town of Rutba," Staff Major General Ibrahim al-Mahalawi said.
An AFP journalist who visited the town confirmed that it was fully back in government hands, as did the local official responsible for the area.
The jihadists attacked Rutba on Sunday, briefly seizing the mayor's office before being pinned back by the security forces but still maintaining control of two neighbourhoods.
The jihadists executed five Iraqis, including members of the security forces, in the town on Monday, army officers said.
On Friday, dozens of jihadist fighters launched a spectacular attack on the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk, killing at least 46 people, mostly members of the security forces.
Iraqi forces are advancing on Mosul, IS's last major stronghold in the country, from three sides after announcing the start of the operation on October 17.
IS overran swathes of Iraq in 2014 and 2015, but has since lost much of the territory it seized.