Tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets across the country to celebrate the liberation of the strategic western city of Fallujah from the grips of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
On Friday evening, non-governmental organizations and popular masses organized marches in the capital, Baghdad, southern cities of Dhi Qar and Basra as well as the central province of Babil, after people broke their dawn-to-dusk fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Iraqi Broadcasting Network reported.
They praised security forces as well as fighters from Popular Mobilization units for their victories in Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of Baghdad.
The participants said the liberation of Fallujah left those claiming that the Daesh bastions could not be retaken utterly stunned, and dealt a blow to certain media outlets that kept a blind eye to realities on the ground and disseminated falsified reports.
Iraqi forces launched a massive military operation to take back Fallujah on May 23. During the offensive, Daesh resorted to hostage taking among the trapped civilians, using them as human shields to slow down the army advances.
On Friday, Iraqi forces managed to raise their national flag on the main government complex in Fallujah as they faced little resistance from the Daesh terrorists, who had lost their defenses there in the course of the weeks-long offensive.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the nation on the liberation of Fallujah, saying there is no place in the country for Daesh terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) delivers a brief speech on state TV after the liberation of Fallujah from the Daesh terrorist group, on 17 June, 2016.
“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,” Abadi said in a brief speech broadcast on public broadcaster al-Iraqiya.
“There is no place in Iraq for you [terrorists] and you will be punished for all the crimes you have committed. The Iraqi people are all united against you. Get out of our country, for Iraq is for Iraqis,” he pointed out.
The Iraqi prime minister also promised that the liberation of Mosul – the main Daesh stronghold – is very close as it is the Iraqi forces’ “next destination” in their campaign to flush the militants out of the country.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.
The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.