Iraqi forces in Fallujah repel IS attack in city’s south

The first explosion occurred around noon when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden auto into a checkpoint manned by members of Hashd Shaabi unit at the entrance of the town of Sulaiman Beg, some 90 km east of the provincial capital city of Tikrit, the source said.

Two Yazidi women have been rescued from Islamic State captivity in Falluja by Iraqi forces during an ongoing offensive to retake the militant stronghold, a representative of the minority said on Tuesday.

Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to be captured by Islamic State.

As government forces pressed their onslaught, suicide bombers driving a auto and a motorcycle blew themselves up in the capital.

“We will beat them in Mosul”, said a senior western official directly involved in the war against Isis.

In that time, other wings of Iraq’s security forces have cleared the city’s edges.

Monday’s push into Nuaimiya, a sprawling agricultural area, was the first attempt by Iraqi forces to enter the city, which fell to IS in January 2014.

Fallujah, the “city of mosques” on the banks of the River Euphrates, was the site of fierce resistance to the USA occupation following the 2003 invasion.

Also on Tuesday, up to five people were killed and 17 others wounded in two suicide bomb attacks targeting Hashd Shaabi unit members in Iraq’s Salahudin province, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

Fallujah has been a bastion of the Sunni insurgency that fought both the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Shi’ite-led Baghdad government that took over after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in 2003.

Iraqi forces battling their way into Falluja have repelled a four-hour attack by the Islamic State group in the south of the city.

Militants unleashed a wave of bombings targeting commercial areas in and around Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 20 people, officials said as Iraqi troops poised to recapture the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah, west of Iraq’s capital. The militants still control patches of territory in the country’s north and east as well as the country’s second largest city, Mosul.

“There’s no way of re-taking Fallujah by the Iraqi security forces without serious harm to the civilian population”.

Writing for Al Jazeera, veteran Iraq observer Michael Knights analyses the main factors driving the Fallujah operation and the division of labour between the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilisation Forces. That represents most of the targets of their latest advance.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi used a televised speech to parliament on Sunday to urge residents to either stay inside or leave the embattled city.

According to the UNHCR, around 1,300 of the fleeing people remain in a government-run camp Ameriyat al, Fallujah district where UNHCR is operating.

The Sunni majority city has always been a centre of resistance against the Shia government and was bombed by Coalition forces during the Gulf War and invaded by American troops in 2003, becoming a focus for the ensuing resistance and insurgency.

The deadliest of the blasts took place in the northern, Shiite-dominated Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden auto into a checkpoint next to a commercial area, killing eight civilians and three soldiers. On Monday morning, a vehicle bomb exploded in Shaab, a Shiite area of northeast Baghdad, according to the Interior Ministry.

Local troops supported by coalition airpower are trying to wrest the city of Fallujah away from the Islamic militants.CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports.

He has called for politicians to set aside their differences and rally behind the army during the Falluja offensive.

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