Iraq's prime minister says government forces have gained control over most of the city of Fallujah, except for pockets of Islamic State group fighters. Speaking on Iraqi TV Friday evening, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Iraqi forces "tightened their control over the inside of the city, and there are some pockets that need to be cleaned out within hours." Haidar al-Obeidi, told The Associated Press that his troops control about 80 percent of the city, with IS militants concentrated in several districts on the city's northern edge.
Iraqi special forces swept into Fallujah on Friday, recapturing most of the city as the Islamic State group's grip crumbled after weeks of fighting. It was a major step toward regaining the Islamic State group's last major foothold in Iraq's western Anbar province, the heartland of the country's Sunni minority. In the early hours, special forces pushed into Fallujah's central al-Nazzal district, which had served as a base for the militants with weapons warehouses and command centers, al-Obeidi said. Nasr Muflahi, the Norwegian Refugee Council's Country Director in Iraq, called for more international aid to help those fleeing Fallujah.
This image made from a video shows Iraqi soldiers in the Qatash area towards Kirkuk gas plant, south of Kirkuk, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. Iraqi state media say federal troops have entered disputed territories occupied by the nation's Kurds. The move comes three years after Kurdish militias seized the areas outside their autonomous region to defend against an advance by the Islamic State extremist group.
When IS fighters moved into the territory around Mosul more than two years ago, the group attacked with convoys that traversed the open desert and held parades in the city center. Now, faced with punishing airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, the fighters have been forced to change tactics, melting into civilian populations and building networks of tunnels under residential areas so they could move without being seen from above.