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Thousands Flee Fighting Between Iraqi Forces and ISIS

As the fight between Iraqi forces and ISIS intensifies, thousands of residents have fled Hit, a strategically important city in Iraq.

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces escort civilians fleeing their homes in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad on April 4.

ISIS seized the city of Hit in October 2014.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces advance in Hit on April 4.

The forces said that they are clearing ISIS fighters from Hit's northern neighborhoods as they push in toward the town center.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A counter-terrorism vehicle escorts women and children fleeing their homes in Hit on April 4. 

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A mother and her children flee their home in Hit on April 4.

Families, many with small children and elderly relatives, said they had walked for hours through desert littered with roadside bombs to escape the violence.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Civilians carrying their belongings leave Hit as the fight between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants intensifies. 

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A counter-terrorism officer helps a woman during the exodus on April 4.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A member of Iraqi counter terrorism forces helps a child get on a truck.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A man kneels down so that a woman can get on a truck. 

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Men are taken for a security check as they and other civilians flee their homes in Hit on April 4.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Smoke rises as people flee their homes during clashes between Iraqi security forces and ISIS in Hit on April 4.

Iraq's counter terrorism forces estimate more than 20,000 civilians remain trapped inside Hit.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A mother and her child, who is waving an Iraqi flag, walk on a road. Smoke rises in the background as the Iraqi forces fight ISIS militants in Hit.

Iraqi troops, who had spent hours clearing the territory before their assault, instructed families not to stray from the tire marks to avoid explosives. 

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Civilians rest during the long journey.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

A woman comforts a girl who is crying in her arms.

Khalid Mohammed / AP