Operation Fallujah: Iraqi forces 'defeat' Islamic State

Operation Fallujah: Iraqi forces 'defeat' Islamic State
Video: The much anticipated operation to recapture Fallujah from the Islamic State group witnessed a victory on Friday as Iraqi forces gained control of the government compound.
2 min read
17 June, 2016
Iraqi forces recaptured the government compound from Islamic State [IS] militants in Fallujah on Friday, in a breakthrough to a military operation that was launched more than a fortnight ago.

Troops erected Iraqi flags to signify victory against IS while gunfire between soldiers and remaining militants echoed in some parts of the city.

Elite counterterrorism troops, backed by a US-led coalition providing aerial support, secured the outskirts of the city before entering the neighbourhoods.

On Monday, Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, the operation's overall commander said the fighters managed to advance towards the main government compound and were stationed within three kilometres of the target.

Hundreds of IS militants attempted to escape the fight by blending in with thousands of residents that were given a safe passage out of the city.

More than 500 suspected Islamic State fighters were detained by Iraqi forces as they were trying to escape Fallujah using fake IDs, police said on Monday.

“We have arrested 546 suspected terrorists who had fled by taking advantage of the movements of displaced families over the past two weeks,” said Hadi Rzayej, the police chief for Al Anbar province in which Fallujah is located.

“Many of them were using fake IDs,” he said from the southern edge of Fallujah.

IS has been expected to put up a tougher fight in Fallujah - which looms large in extremist mythology - than for any of the other cities it has lost in Iraq over the past two years.

Iraqi forces have been making slow but steady progress over the past two weeks, with elite troops dodging suicide car bombs and picking their way through thousands of explosive devices to work their way up from the south of the city.