Iraqi troops target ISIS
Iraq’s special forces completed a troop buildup around Fallujah last night ahead of an operation to retake the ISIS-held city west of Baghdad, a military officer said, as the militants attacked a newly liberated town to the west.
Teaming up with paramilitary troops and backed by aerial support from the US-led coalition, the government launched a l a rg e - s c a l e offensive to dislodge ISIS militants from Fallujah a week ago.
The city, located about 65km west of Baghdad, is one of the last major ISIS strongholds in Iraq. The extremist group still controls territory in the country’s north and west, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
The last battalion from Iraq’s Special Forces Service arrived at dawn yesterday at the sprawling Tariq Camp outside Fallujah, said Major Dhia Thamir.
“I’m totally ready for it,” said soldier Ali Al Shimmari as he cleared his weapon and checked his Humvee at the camp. “I phoned my family in the morning and asked them to pray for me to get back safe to them,” he added.
“I’m determined to end Daesh,” Al Shimmari continued.
The militants meanwh i le launched an attack yesterday on the town of Hit, 140km west of Ba g h d a d , which was recaptured by government troops last month.
A military officer said the extremists entered three neighbourhoods and were engaged in heavy clashes with Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes.
By late afternoon, the forces had managed to push the militants out.