Iraqi Army Makes Gains in Fallujah Against IS

Iraqi Army Makes Gains in Fallujah Against ISIraqi Army Makes Gains in Fallujah Against IS

Iraqi government forces have made gains in their offensive to drive the self-styled Islamic State militants from Fallujah—one of the country’s two major cities controlled by IS.

The nearby town of Karma, the first line of IS defense, is now in the army’s hands, BBC reported.

A large numbers of elite combat troops have also been deployed near Fallujah, about 45 km west of Baghdad.

But IS hit back north of Fallujah, killing and injuring some Iraqi forces in a suicide car bomb attack. A counter-attack south of the city was repelled with the help of helicopter gunships.

This comes just days after the IS commander in Fallujah, Maher al-Bilawi, was killed along with dozens of militants in US-led coalition airstrikes, according to Washington.

Karma is now firmly under the control of government forces, including rapid reaction troops and federal police.

But Karma is now a ghost town, with not a single civilian to be seen and with rows of shops battered and burnt out, and some bigger buildings badly damaged.

A large number of the elite Counter-Terrorism Force have been brought up in preparation for an assault on the city itself. However, it is not clear when the attack will begin.

Some 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the city and have been told via leaflet drops to avoid IS areas and put white sheets on their roofs, the US military says.