Baghdad: The Iraqi security forces on Saturday launched a major offensive in the western province of Anbar to free a town from where the Islamic State (IS) militants abducted around 43 people and later burned them alive inside iron cages, a provincial security source said.
Iraqi soldiers, police and allied Sunni tribesmen, backed by the US-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, advanced in the morning from three directions to free the town of al-Baghdadi.
The offensive was also designed to break the siege of a neighbourhood adjacent to al-Baghdadi, where some 1,000 families of security members and government.
Earlier, IS fighters captured the 43 Iraqis from the albu-Obeid Sunni tribe in the battlefield town of al-Baghdadi. The terrorists put the victims in iron cages and set fire to them in a chilling reminder of the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh last month in Syria.
The executions came after the killing of some 70 others during the past 10 days when the IS militants carried out major attacks on al-Baghdadi and the nearby air base of Ain al-Asad which houses hundreds of US Marines.