Iraq forces preparing for Fallujah battle: PM spokesman

AFP , Sunday 22 May 2016

Iraq PM
File photo of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. (Photo: Reuters)

Iraqi forces are heading to Fallujah to launch an operation aimed at retaking the city from the Islamic State (IS) group, the prime minister's spokesman said on Sunday.

"Your sons the heroic fighters in the armed forces are ready to achieve a new victory... they are going to the city of Fallujah to clear it from the Daesh (IS) gang," Saad al-Hadithi said in a statement.

He did not say when an assault on the militant bastion would begin.

Iraqi forces have in recent days been massing around Fallujah, a city just 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad and which has been out of government control since January 2014.

Fallujah and Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh, are the last two major cities IS still holds in Iraq.

Fallujah is almost completely surrounded by Iraqi forces who have regained significant ground in the Anbar province in recent months, including its capital Ramadi further up the Euphrates River valley.

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