Iraq army retakes 'last Daesh stronghold' near Fallujah

Iraq army retakes 'last Daesh stronghold' near Fallujah

Al-Hasai district, one of Daesh's most important strongholds outside Fallujah, is now under Iraqi army control

By Sulaiman Al Qubaisi and Ibrahim Saleh

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi forces and tribal fighters recaptured “the last stronghold of Daesh” to the south of Fallujah, the largest city in western Iraq’s Anbar province, Thursday, a senior Iraqi army official said.

Maj. Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, commander of the Iraqi army in Anbar, said: "Al-Hasai district, five kilometers [3.1 miles] south of Fallujah, is one of the most important strongholds for the militants of Daesh outside the center of Fallujah…

"The liberation process came after the killing of a number of elements of Daesh after Daesh elements had sustained large losses, as well as many of the Iraqi forces had been injured."

He claimed the international coalition had destroyed more than 60 vehicles allegedly belonging to Daesh, which were trying to flee towards eastern Ramadi city, the capital of Anbar.

Earlier this week, federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat said Iraqi forces and the allied Hashd al-Shaabi -- an umbrella group of Iraqi Shia militias – “liberated” Fallujah from Daesh militants.

In April, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led warplanes, launched an offensive to recapture Fallujah from Daesh, which overran the city in early 2014.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

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