By Ibrahim Saleh
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraqi forces have captured 12 districts of Fallujah only hours after the launch of a military campaign aimed at retaking the city from the Daesh terrorist group, according to a local security source.
Fallujah is considered Daesh’s primary stronghold in Iraq’s western Anbar province.
Federal police officer Raed Jawdat said in a statement Monday that joint forces -- including army troops, counter-terrorism units, pro-government militiamen and tribal fighters -- had managed to capture the districts of Subaihat, Al-Shihabi, Al-Lifiyya, Al-Karma, Al-Boaudh, Jamilah, Al-Bouhadid, Al-Nasser and Al-Sajr, among others.
Jawdat added that some 40 Daesh militants had been killed so far in ongoing operations to retake Fallujah, in which medium and heavy weapons were being employed.
On Sunday night, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of the military campaign.
"The operation to liberate Fallujah has been launched with the participation of Iraqi army forces, counter-terrorism units, the federal police, the [Shia] Hashd al-Shaabi militia and tribal fighters," al-Abadi said.
Located along the Euphrates River about 50 kilometers west of capital Baghdad, Fallujah -- which fell to Daesh in early 2014 -- is currently home to an estimated 90,000 people.