Iraqi forces backed by Shi'ite volunteer fighters capture several villages from Islamic State fighters just east of Baghdad Thursday.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense says they took control of 30 villages in Diyala province.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED IRAQI SOLDIER, SAYING:
"This school was used by terrorists as a headquarters and for making explosives. As you have seen, 'blood for blood and destruction for destruction' was written on outer wall, and this is their flag. These areas have been cleared and, God willing, we will liberate all parts of this dear country."
The Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias have fought Sunni Islamists and other armed factions back and forth north of Baghdad for nearly four months, vowing to claw back ground they lost, in just days, last June.