Iraqi forces retake Falluja city hall


Baghdad : Iraqi military forces had retaken the Fallujah government compound from Daesh fighters, field commanders said on Friday. They earlier reportedly recaptured the Industrial District in the city's east. Falluja, which is 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, has been held by IS longer than any other city in Iraq or Syria.

The jihadist group overran Falluja in January 2014, six months before it seized control of large parts of northern and western Iraq. Government forces launched the offensive to recapture Falluja almost four weeks ago, after besieging the city and its suburbs for several months.

On Friday, federal police raised the Iraqi flag above the city council building, according to a military statement cited by state television. "The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolises the restoration of the state's authority," federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. Mr Jawdat said government forces had met limited resistance as they advanced and were pursuing militants still inside the city.

Earlier on Thursday, the Iraqi news website Mada Press cited Gen Saadi as saying that "scores of militants" had been killed as the Industrial District was retaken. “We have arrested 546 suspected terrorists who had fled by taking advantage of the movements of displaced families over the past two weeks,” said Hadi Rzayej, the police chief for Al Anbar province in which Fallujah is located. “Many of them were using fake IDs,” he said from the southern edge of Fallujah, where Iraqi forces are pressing a three-week-old offensive to retake the city from Daesh.