Iraqi PM Declares Victory Over Isis In Fallujah
Iraqi forces on Friday (June 17) entered the centre of Fallujah, the Iraqi city longest held by Islamic State (ISIS), nearly four weeks after the start of a U.S.-backed offensive that cleared out the tens of thousands of residents still there.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory shortly after nightfall, as government forces continued pushing into parts of the city held by the militants.
Security forces "took control of areas inside the city. There are still some pockets that need to be cleared in the next few hours," he said in a brief speech on state television.
Government troops, supported by multiple air strikes from a U.S.-led coalition, recaptured the municipal building, though the ultra-hardline militants still controlled a significant portion of Fallujah, an hour's drive west of Baghdad, and many streets and houses remain mined with explosives.
Federal police raised the Iraqi state flag above the government building and continued pursuing insurgents, according to a military statement. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Iraqi forces had taken back a portion of the city, although he added: "There's still some fighting to be done."