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Iraqi army, allies close in on Daesh-held Fallujah

Iraqi army, allies close in on Daesh-held Fallujah
Campaign to wrest war-battered city from Daesh enters second day amid reports of mounting civilian casualties

By Suleiman al-Qubeisi and Ibrahim Saleh

ANBAR, Iraq (AA) – Ten civilians were killed on Tuesday when the Iraqi army and their allies shelled positions in the city of Fallujah -- currently held by the Daesh terrorist group -- in Iraq’s western Anbar province, according to a local tribal chief.

"Many parts of Fallujah came under intense fire on Tuesday after army forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi [Shia militia] fired about 60 missiles into the city," local tribal chief Sheikh Majid al-Jerisi told Anadolu Agency by phone.

According to al-Jerisi, casualties included five children and three women, while a number of others were injured.

It was the second day in which Fallujah came under fire following the launch of a fresh campaign by Iraqi forces to capture the war-battered city from Daesh.

On Monday, at least nine civilians were killed when the Iraqi army and allied militiamen shelled different parts of the city, according to al-Jerisi.

"Army forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi shelled Fallujah from morning till evening on Monday with more than 30 mortar rounds," al-Jerisi said.

According to a local security source, Iraqi forces early Monday captured 12 districts of Fallujah, considered Daesh’s primary stronghold in Anbar province.

In a Monday statement, federal police officer Raed Jawdat said that joint forces -- including army troops, counter-terrorism units, pro-government militiamen and tribal fighters -- had managed to capture the city’s Subaihat, Al-Shihabi, Al-Lifiyya, Al-Karma, Al-Boaudh, Jamilah, Al-Bouhadid, Al-Nasser and Al-Sajr districts, among others.

Jawdat added that some 40 Daesh militants had been killed in the operation, in which medium and heavy weapons were employed.

On Sunday night, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the launch of the military campaign.

"The operation to liberate Fallujah is being carried out with the participation of Iraqi army forces, counter-terrorism units, the federal police, the 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 some 90,000 people.

source: News Feed
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