Iraqi forces on Sunday reclaimed the Islamic State militant group’s last stronghold in Fallujah city, bringing the month-long operation to an end, a spokesperson for the military Sabah al-Noman said. “Fallujah is now free of the threat posed by Daesh [Islamic State] terrorists,” he said. Al-Noman added that the commander of the Fallujah operations, Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, had announced that counter-terrorism forces had taken control of the city’s Jolan locality, AFP reported.
However, according to a spokesperson for the Joint Operations Command that is coordinating the offensive against the Islamic State, there are a few terrorist hideouts northwest of Fallujah. “We never made central Fallujah the ultimate goal of our operation...The aim is to clear the whole area,” the spokesperson said.
Iraqi troops had launched the operation on May 22-23 to retake Fallujah, which is located only 50 km from capital city Baghdad and was one the terror outfit’s most prominent strongholds. On June 22, security forces entered and took over large parts of Fallujah from Islamic State fighters and raised the Iraqi flag on top of the main government compound in the city.