GLOBAL ECONOMY

Iraqi forces rely on air power in battling IS for key town

  • Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fire towards extremist positions during fights between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fire towards extremist positions during fights between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • People flee their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    People flee their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • People flee their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    People flee their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State group during a military operation to regain control of Hit, 85 miles (140 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's counterterrorism forces are increasingly relying on air power in their battle to take full control of a key tow in the sprawling western Anbar desert from Islamic State militants.

Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, who leads the elite troops, says his men control most of Hit but that IS fighters are still hunkered down in far-flung areas of the town from where they are putting up heavy resistance.

Al-Asadi says that late into Wednesday night, Iraqi commanders were calling in coordinates to coalition forces at the nearby Taqaddam air base.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Hit, a small Euphrates River town, over six weeks ago and have slowly been securing one after another part of town over the past two weeks in order to minimize civilian casualties.