Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah 6/23/2016
Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah 6/23
Main flashpoint is now Jolan neighbourhood in northwest Fallujah asIraqi forces focus on removing roadside bombs and booby traps.
FALLUJAH - Iraqi forces have retaken more than 80 percent of Fallujah from the Islamic State group, the commander of the month-long offensive on the jihadist bastion said Thursday.
"I can say that more than 80 percent (of the city) is controlled by our forces," Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi told AFP in Fallujah.
On a tour of areas of northern Fallujah recently seized by Iraqi government forces, he said jihadists remaining in the city "will all be eliminated, God willing."
Saadi said the main flashpoint was now the Jolan neighbourhood in the northwestern corner of Fallujah, which lies only 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
Pockets of IS fighters remained in the rural areas of Hosai and Azraqiyah, immediately to the west of the city.
There was little fighting in northern Fallujah on Thursday, with most Iraqi forces there focused on removing roadside bombs and booby traps.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launch of the offensive on one of the jihadists' most emblematic strongholds on May 22.
An initial phase of staging operations to encircle the city involved tens of thousands of fighters, including from some of Iraq's myriad Shiite militias.
Forces led by the elite counter-terrorism service then broke into the city proper, initially encountering fierce resistance in the south before punching through IS defences to make rapid gains towards the centre.