Friday, June 17, 2016

Iraqi army raises flag over government headquarters in Fallujah as Isil fighters abandon posts


Iraq's prime minister has proclaimed the recapture of Fallujah after the army raised the Iraqi flag over the city's government headquarters and Isil fighters abandoned their posts on masse.
Haider al-Abadi announced on national television that few Isil forces remained in the city and would soon be defeated. "We promised you the liberation of Fallujah and we retook it. Our security forces control the city except for small pockets that need to be cleared within the coming hours," he said.
Troops swept through with limited resistance from the militants, leaving the Islamic State on the brink of losing one of the most emblematic strongholds in its "caliphate".
"The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolises the restoration of the state's authority", said Raed Shaker Jawdat, Iraq's federal police chief.
The compound also houses the city’s police headquarters, the mayor’s office and courthouses.
However, Ash Carter, the US defence secretary, cautioned that Iraqi forces had retaken a portion, but not all of the city. They will also face the task of getting to safety the tens of thousands of residents still trapped by the fighting.
"There's still some fighting to be done," Mr Carter told reporters at the Pentagon.

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