Shia Militia Reclaim Fallujah Neighbourhoods from ISIS*
Iraqi Shia militias—also called Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)—have recaptured areas of ISIS controlled Fallujah in Anbar province, according to a statement released by the group Monday.
“After engaging in intense battles with the Islamic State in the town of Fallujah, our forces were able to retake control of the neighbourhoods of Albu Khanifer and Khalif Sulaiman northwest of Fallujah,” the statement claimed.
According to the statement, in an ongoing military campaign the Islamic State’s top local leader in Fallujah, named Abu Shahab Al-Orduni, was arrested.
The Iraqi government officially announced the launch of a military campaign to liberate areas under ISIS control in Anbar province.
Iraq said Sunday its forces had surrounded ISIS in Fallujah and the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, where they had opened a corridor for civilians to flee before a planned assault begins.
“Iraqi joint forces are on the alert to liberate the embattled towns of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar, but no timeframe has been set yet,” Brigadier General Yahia Rasoul, a spokesman for Iraq’s Defense Ministry, told news agencies Sunday.
“The forces are considering the lives of civilians as thousands of innocents remain inside the towns,” said Rasoul of the corridor.
“In the past we were concerned about the innocent people in these areas, but for the coming military campaign we need victory at any cost.”
Meanwhile, the Anbar operations command announced a similar corridor in Fallujah.
Sunni-majority Fallujah, 69 kilometers west of Baghdad, has been under ISIS control since last summer. It has been besieged by the Iraqi army, which has been continuously shelling the city to weaken the extremists.
ISIS seized control of Ramadi in May, sending Iraqi forces racing out of the city in a major loss that came despite weeks of US-led airstrikes targeting the extremists.