Operation Fallujah: IS retakes positions and downs military helicopters

Operation Fallujah: IS retakes positions and downs military helicopters
Islamic State militants have taken back positions from Iraqi security forces and have claimed to have shot down two military helicopters.
2 min read
26 May, 2016
Fallujah has been out of government control since January 2014 [Getty]

The Islamic State group [IS] has recaptured positions it recently lost on the outskirts of its bastion of Fallujah in central Iraq, claiming to have downed Iraqi military helicopters.

IS took back key positions to the north and south of Fallujah on Thursday, which the militant group had been pushed out from by government forces and allied militias who were trying to liberate the city, local and military sources told The New Arab.

"IS carried out suicide car attacks, which allowed it to take back the areas of Albu Shajal to the north and al-Nuaimiya and al-Hour to the south," the sources said.

"The attacks killed several government forces and militiamen and allowed IS to capture weapons and military vehicles," they added.

The Islamic State's news agency reported that two Iraqi air force helicopters were shot down in al-Khalidiya between Fallujah and Ramadi, killing the crew.

Iraqi military information officer, Hussein al-Maliki, denied IS claims. However, local tribesmen told The New Arab that they saw a helicopter in flames fall from the sky and explode as it hit the ground.


Medics in Fallujah have said that six civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed and nine injured in mortar attacks that hit Fallujah on Thursday.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the long-awaited operation to retake the city early on Monday.

On Wednesday, Abadi urged protesters not to demonstrate in Baghdad this Friday because security forces are mobilised in the battle to retake Fallujah.

Protesters, mostly followers of powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have held demonstrations almost every Friday for weeks to demand a government reshuffle.

Fallujah, which lies only 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, has been out of government control since January 2014 and is one of only two remaining major Iraqi cities still in IS hands, the other being Mosul.

Addressing worries expressed by international humanitarian aid organisations over the safety of civilians trapped inside Fallujah, Abadi said that security forces' "main concern is how to protect the civilians and to differentiate between terrorists and innocent civilians."

Reports from inside Fallujah indicate that residents are in desperate conditions and seeking a safe passage out with severe shortages of food, medicine and electricity.