Iraqi government forces have made fresh gains against Daesh terrorists in the country’s embattled western province of Anbar as operations continue against the extremist Takfiri group. Troops managed on Wednesday to secure the town of Hamdhiyah, which lies just north of the provincial capital of Ramadi. At least 17 Daesh terrorists were killed in the operation, Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported. The achievement cut one of the key supply routes of the Takfiri militants, and is considered a major feat as it prepares the ground for the liberation of the strategic al-Khalidiya city. Iraqi security officials also uncovered a mass grave in the area, which is believed to be containing the remains of 50 people executed by Takfiri Daesh terrorists. Separately, fighters from Popular Mobilization units fired a barrage of Grad missiles at Daesh camps in the city of al-Saqlawiyah, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad, destroying them. Iraqi bomb disposal teams also defused at least 140 improvised explosive devices, which had been planted in the farmlands surrounding Saqlawiyah. Additionally, an Iraqi helicopter crashed due to “hostile fire” and one of its pilots was killed near the city of Amiriyah Fallujah in Anbar Province. Two others on board were seriously wounded. “Initial reports suggest the helicopter was shot down by anti-aircraft machine gun,” lieutenant Hani al-Jumaili, a police officer from Amiriyah Fallujah, said. Daesh later claimed on a Twitter account that it had downed the copter. A day earlier, another army helicopter had crashed in southern Iraq due to what was reported to be a technical glitch, killing nine people. Iraqi army forces also shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by Daesh extremists in the suburbs of Ramadi as it was flying over the area and surveying government troopers.