VIDEO: Iraqi Allied Forces Gain More Grounds in Fallujah Against Daesh

Fri Jun 3, 2016 10:48:00

Iraqi security forces on Thursday fought fierce clashes with Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS and Daesh) militants and retook control of an area near the ISIS-held city of Fallujah in Iraq's western province of Anbar, while the U.S.-led air strikes continued against IS positions outside the city, a military statement and a security source said.

The troops and allied paramilitary Shiite and Sunni units, known as Hashd Shaabi, had recaptured al-Tuffaha village and raised the Iraqi flag on nearby remains of a bridge in south of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the statement from Hashd Shaabi media office said without giving further details.

Meanwhile, the security forces and Hashd Shaabi units continued their battles around the ISIS-held town of Saqlawiyah in northwest of Fallujah, in an attempt to free the town from ISIS militants.

The troops' advance toward Fallujah was slowed down but the battles with ISIS militants continued around the city as the troops have been facing fierce resistance from the extremist militants inside the city, in addition to hundreds of hidden bombs are believed to be planted by the militants to hamper the advance of the troops.

"Earlier, Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul, spokesman for the Joint Military Command, said that intelligence reports indicate that about 400 to 600 militants are in Fallujah, many of them foreigners. He said about 50,000 to 70,000 civilians are expected to remain in Fallujah."

The security forces also wanted avoid heavy casualties among tens of thousands of civilians who are reportedly trapped inside Fallujah.

On Wednesday, the UN children fund (UNICEF) warned that at least 20,000 Iraqi children remain trapped in the city of Fallujah where Iraqi security forces are fighting to drive out the extremist IS militants from the city.

Also in the day, international aircraft bombarded an ISIS position at Jazirat al-Khaldiyah area in east of Fallujah, leaving at least 10 ISIS militants killed and destroying three of their vehicles, a local security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Separately, another U.S.-led coalition aircraft carried out air strike on the ISIS headquarters in Albu Hawa area in south of Fallujah on the western bank of Euphrates River, killing eight militants and wounding 15 others, the source said.

In addition, the international warplanes struck four ISIS positions in Albu Diyab area in north of Anbar's provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, destroying the positions and killing at least nine militants, the source added.

On May 23, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launch of the offensive to claim Fallujah.

Iraq is currently witnessing a wave of violence since the Islamic State controlled parts of Iraq's northern and western regions in June 2014.


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