Eradicating ISIS’s influence has been the major focus of Iraqi militia in recent years, after the terrorist group captured some of the Iraqi provinces and embarked on killing citizens unlawfully and brutally. Several forces have gathered to fight against this menace which has scourged the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
At least 130 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in Fallujah since Wednesday in attacks carried out by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, Al Jazeera reported. The casualties were reported after the Iraqi Army, with the backing of Iran-backed Shia militia and international air raids, launched an offensive against the extremist group on Monday to recapture the city in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.
On Wednesday, at least 10 ISIS suicide bombers targeted the Kubaisah town and the Al Sejar village, attacking a convoy of the Iraqi Army at Amiriyat al-Fallujah, about 30 km south of Fallujah, Al Jazeera quoted its sources as saying.
It goes without saying that the Iraqi forces have had the territory around Fallujah taken while under their control. Now they are advancing their troops in order to launch a full-on assault against the ISIS base in Fallujah which has been a habitat of the Islamist group since 2004.
Since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the operation just over a week ago, government forces, together with Shiite militia troops and tribal fighters, mostly from Sunni Anbar province, have taken territory around Fallujah in preparation for an assault on its urban area.
“Forces are still advancing, and clashes are ongoing,” Saedi told state television.
Capturing Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to the Islamic State in 2014, is expected to be both an important battle and a difficult one. The city, about 45 miles west of Baghdad, is known for its history of nurturing armed Islamist groups. In 2004, U.S. Marines fought two fierce battles to take control of Fallujah, but insurgents returned each time.
Reasserting government control of Fallujah would deal a major blow to ISIS in western Iraq, where it has been able to draw strength from fellow militants in neighboring Syria. A government victory would also help build momentum ahead of a highly anticipated operation to recapture the major northern city of Mosul.