Iraqi army forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization units, have launched a major operation to take back the strategic western city of Fallujah from Takfiri ISIL militants.
Iraqi officials said the offensive to retake the troubled city, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad, began on Monday night, and that government troopers together with volunteer fighters have now reached the gates of Fallujah.
The authorities said that Iraqi forces are now in full control of the western, southern and eastern areas leading to the city.
Ja’far Hussaini, a spokesman for pro-government Kata’ib Hezbollah forces, said his contingent has managed to wrest complete control of a northern supply route.
Fallujah lies between Baghdad and Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, which is under ISIL control. The city’s liberation will choke off the militants’ supply lines.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces supported by Popular Mobilization units and tribal fighters have thwarted an ISIL onslaught against the town of Barwanah in Anbar Province, killing scores of the extremists in the process.
According to a statement released by the Iraqi Defense Ministry on Monday, a large number of ISIL Takfiris were also killed on Monday when Iraqi fighter jets carried out precision strikes against terrorist hideouts in Baghdad and Salahuddin provinces as well as Hawijah town, located 282 kilometers (175 miles) north of Baghdad.
Separately, Iraqi military aircraft bombarded an ISIL hideout in the village of Albu Jawari, situated 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of oil-rich city of Kirkuk, killing 10 Takfiris.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Takfiri ISIL militants began their march through Iraqi territory in June 2014. Army soldiers and volunteer fighters have joined forces, and are seeking to take back militant-held regions in joint operations.