BAGHDAD: Oil wells set alight by the Islamic State group (ISIS , ISIL , IS and Daesh) on Sunday continued to burn on the outskirts of Qayara, a strategic town south of Mosul that was retaken from the militants by Iraqi forces this week.
Inside the town, hundreds of civilians filled the main street as a convoy of Iraqi officials toured the town.
Many cheered as army trucks sped through the streets. Iraqi forces, helped by air power, cleared Qayara of Daesh by Saturday.
ISIS terrorists set fire to the oil wells to provide cover from airstrikes. Qaraya is the first major town retaken from ISIS in the Nineveh province.
The battle was one of a number of operations Iraqi forces are carrying out around Mosul in an effort to isolate the city.
Sheikh Abdul Latif al Humeim, the head of Sunni religious endowments in Iraq and the countrys senior Sunni cleric, visited the town and commented on the low loss of life of the operation and the minimal destruction of the town.
Sheikh Abdul-Latif al-Humeim, the head of Sunni religious endowments in Iraq told AP : I am very happy and satisfied with the Nineveh Operations Command, both southeast of Mosul and in Qayara, because the number of civilian casualties is very low, we have only four martyrs (soldiers). This is a very limited and reasonable number. I feel happy because the number of casualties is very low. And in fact the destruction in the town does not exceed one percent, relative to the large size of the town, and the citizens remain in their houses, which is excellent.