Iraqi forces launch anti-IS operation in western Anbar

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 photo, U.S. Marines prepare to build a military site during a sandstorm in western Anbar, Iraq. The US-led coalition's newest outpost in the fight against the Islamic State group is in this dusty corner of western Iraq near the border with Syria where several hundred American Marines operate close to the battlefront, a key factor in the recent series of swift victories against the extremists. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Khalid Mohammed

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Prime Minister says Iraqi forces are launching an operation to push Islamic State group fighters out of a patch of territory on the western edge of the country near the border with Syria.

Haider al-Abadi is announcing the push during a visit to the holy city of Karbala on Saturday during the Arbaeen pilgrimage that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson and a central figure in Shiite Islam.

Iraqi forces retook Iraq's border crossing with Syria earlier this month in a U.S.-led coalition-backed operation that involved Iraqi army units, Iraqi special forces and local tribal fighters.

All that remains from the so-called "caliphate" that once stretched to the edges of Baghdad are patches of territory along the Euphrates in the deserts of Syria and Iraq.

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