Iraq’s military says it has retaken the main government compound in Fallujah from “Islamic State” militants. Iraq launched a major offensive to push the extremists out of the city last month.
Federal police raised the Iraqi flag above the town hall in central Fallujah on Friday, marking a significant step in the army’s month-long offensive to take control of the city.
“The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolizes the restoration of the state’s authority” in Fallujah, Raed Shaker Jawdat, Iraq’s federal police chief, said.
Fallujah is one of the last major “Islamic State” (IS) strongholds in western Iraq. The group took the city in 2014 when it overran large parts of the country, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city in the far north.
Last month the Iraqi army, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, launched a large-scale military assault to retake Fallujah. The city lies about an hour’s drive west of Baghdad, and is seen as a strategic launching spot for IS bombing attacks in the capital.
A military statement said soldiers had met with little resistance from IS during the push into downtown Fallujah, adding that police were advancing along a main road running through the city, while counter-terrorism forces surrounded the hospital.
nm/kl (AFP, Reuters)