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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi Security Forces Enter Fallujah

by Carla Babb June 15, 2016

Iraqi security forces are "inside" Fallujah three weeks after launching an offensive to retake the Islamic State-held city, according to a military spokesman for the coalition battling IS in Iraq and Syria.

"They [Iraqis] have a foothold in the southern corner, the southern edge of the city," Col. Chris Garver told Pentagon reporters Wednesday during a teleconference from Baghdad.

Garver said the Iraqis are working to "seize the center" of Fallujah and then fight outward.

The attack inside the city comes as other Iraqi Security Force brigades, Iraqi police, Anbar tribal fighters and Popular Mobilization Units continue the encirclement of the Fallujah, which is needed to prevent Islamic State fighters from reinforcing or resupplying their fighters there.

Multiple Iraqi brigades from four different Iraqi Army divisions are involved in the fight to retake the city. The coalition estimates hundreds of Islamic State fighters remain in Fallujah.

Garver said the fight will become more difficult now that Iraqi Security Forces are within the city. Islamic State fighters have held Fallujah for about two years, giving them time to plant several explosive belts and other traps.

"The meters that you gain become tougher to gain, and they become more significant as you get them," he said.

Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to Islamic State militants in 2014.

There are reports that as many as 40,000 citizens from in and around the city have fled the fighting in recent weeks.

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