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Iraq’s Fallujah fully cleared of IS

Elite Iraqi forces on Sunday retook the Islamic State group's last bastion in Fallujah, securing full control of the city after a month-long operation, a spokesman said.
Iraqi government forces stand next to their vehicles as they hold a position southwest of the city of Fallujah, near Amiriyiah al-Fallujah, on June 21, 2016. More than 60,000 people have been forced from their homes in the area over the past month, fleeing the government's operation against the Islamic State (IS) group, and a sudden influx of civilians pouring out of the city centre last week has left the aid community unable to cope.

Iraqi government forces stand next to their vehicles as they hold a position southwest of the city of Fallujah, near Amiriyiah al-Fallujah, on June 21, 2016. More than 60,000 people have been forced from their homes in the area over the past month, fleeing the government’s operation against the Islamic State (IS) group, and a sudden influx of civilians pouring out of the city centre last week has left the aid community unable to cope.

Elite Iraqi forces on Sunday retook the Islamic State group’s last bastion in Fallujah, securing full control of the city after a month-long operation, a spokesman said.

“Today the commander of Fallujah operations Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi announced that the city of Fallujah had been cleared after counter-terrorism forces (CTS) took control of the Jolan neighbourhood,” the force’s spokesman, Sabah al-Noman, told AFP.

“Jolan was Daesh’s last stronghold in the city and Fallujah is now free of the threat posed by Daesh terrorists,” he said, using an Arab acronym for IS.

“It did not take more than two hours for CTS to retake Jolan. Daesh did not fire a single bullet,” Noman said. “This proves that Daesh was defeated even before our forces got there.”

A spokesman for the Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight against IS said some jihadist pockets remained northwest of Fallujah.

“We still have an ongoing fight northwest of Fallujah. We never made central Fallujah the ultimate goal of our operation… the aim is to clear the whole area,” the spokesman said.

The Iraqi security forces launched a major offensive on May 22-23 to retake Fallujah, one of IS’s most emblematic bastions, which lies only 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.