Monday, June 27, 2016

Iraqi Official Declares Fallujah 'Fully Liberated'

by Sharon Behn June 26, 2016
Iraqi forces have liberated the city of Fallujah from Islamic State fighters, following a month-long military offensive to seize control, according to a senior Iraqi official.
Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said Sunday Fallujah is now "fully liberated" after Iraqi forces took control of the Julan neighborhood, the last area of the city still held by IS.
The destruction of the city is extensive.
Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and a strong contingent of Shi'ite militias, Iraqi forces fought fiercely for weeks to oust the extremist fighters. There are no clear reports of how many IS militants and how many Iraqi security forces died or were wounded in the battle for the city.
Tens of thousands need aid
Afraid of dying in the crossfire, 85,000 people have flooded out of the city and surrounding areas, overwhelming humanitarian agencies and Iraqi government efforts to help them. Many of the displaced are without adequate shelter, living under searing summer temperatures of 45 degrees or higher and punishing sandstorms.
"With every day that passes in the camps, the conditions for some of the most vulnerable keep deteriorating," warned NRC's Iraq Country Director Nasr Muflahi.
The director of a health center in Amariyat al-Fallujah, where many of the displaced ran to, warned of the lack of water and sanitation.
"We have too many people, with very few latrines, and there are no more spaces in the camps. Every five meters you find a family," said director Ahmed Basel. "If this crisis is not tackled we will soon see diseases spreading."


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