The recent defeat of the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) in al-Khalidiya Island represents a turning point in the battle against ISIL, as the group has no remaining strongholds in eastern Anbar, Iraqi officials said.
"It is a unique victory for our forces as we have been able to defeat ISIL in the most important and the last of its strongholds in eastern Anbar," said Anbar Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Ismail Mahlawi.
"This victory will open new routes to supply our military units and for achieving a final victory over terrorism," he told Diyaruna.
"The battle for restoring the island began July 30th from different directions with the participation of army troops represented by the [8th, 10th and 14th] army brigades, federal police, Anbar emergency forces and tribal forces," he said.
Air support was provided by the Iraqi air force and the coalition, he added.
"The attack was sudden and swift," he said. "In the early hours of the battle, we inflicted great losses in lives against the enemy."
In three days of fighting, he said, Iraqi forces took complete control of al-Khalidiya Island and its surrounding areas, including Albuobaid, Albubali, Almalahmeh and Alkartan.
Military sources indicate between 120 and 180 ISIL fighters were killed in battle.
"Our forces currently are working on cleaning up the liberated areas from hundreds of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by ISIL elements to impede our progress," he said.
Deputy Interior Minister Aqeel al-Khazali said a 90-day plan would soon be set into motion to reconstruct the area so displaced families can return.
Al-Khalidiya Island was of vital importance to ISIL because it used the area to harbour its elements who fled Fallujah, Ramadi and other liberated Anbar cities, said Anbar provincial council security committee member Rajeh Barakat al-Aifan.
"Liberating al-Khalidiya Island will terminate ISIL's remaining capability to attack or pose a threat in Anbar province," he said.
Recapturing that area will enable the reopening of the international highway connecting Baghdad and Ramadi via Fallujah, which has been closed for more than two years, he added.