By Ibrahim Salih
BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi forces have recaptured a strategic neighborhood from Daesh in southern Fallujah, a feat that the Iraqi military officials claim has happened for the first time in more than two years.
Iraqi army officer Walid al-Duleimi told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that the success came following clashes with Daesh.
“Iraqi forces have regained control of al-Shuhada neighborhood in southern Fallujah after fierce clashes with Daesh militants,” al-Duleimi said.
State television reported that the neighborhood had now been cleared of Daesh militants.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office said in a statement that the premier also visited troops in the “liberated” neighborhood.
A photo was also released showing al-Abadi sitting inside what appears to be a former Daesh office, with the graffiti “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [Daesh] remains” still inscribed on the wall.
This is the first time in two years that Iraqi forces have entered Fallujah, which was captured by Daesh in early 2014.
Last month, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition air power, began a major military offensive aimed at retaking the western city.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh overran northern and western parts of the country.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Mohamed Sabry from Cairo contributed to this story.