Iraqi Shi'ite fighters carry their weapons as they prepare to launch an attack on Islamic State militants on the outskirts of the city of Tikrit Reuters

Jihadi group Islamic State (Isis) is said to be relocating its Iraqi headquarters some 150km to the south in the Sunni-dominated town of Hawija, Sunni tribal fighters in Iraq told IBTimes US.

IS has been running its operations in Iraq from Mosul, the country's second largest city, since taking it over last year.

Earlier in February, US officials disclosed that a coordinate military mission to retake the city involving some 25,000 Iraqi troops and Kurdish fighters was being set up.

In preparation for the offensive, which is expected to start in April or May, the US has been providing weapons and training to Iraqi forces, while coalition warplanes bombarded IS positions in Mosul.

Meanwhile, however, the Islamist group has consolidated its hold on Hawija, which lies some 35 miles east of the oil rich Kirkuk and the surrounding area.

Since seizing the town in June 2014, IS has won the support of local residents and has recently started to increase its military presence in order to create its new Iraqi central command there, according to IBTimes US.

Earlier in February, the radical group's propaganda branch released a video showing 21 hostage Kurdish Peshmerga fighters being paraded through the town streets in cages.

Hawija is more centrally positioned than the northern Mosul, allowing IS closer access to both the Anbar province and the Kirkuk region.