Iraqi forces have fully liberated Fallujah city, recapturing the final remaining district on Sunday.
“We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter-terrorism service and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Falluja is over,” Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi told state TV.
Iraqi forces entered the northwestern al-Julan neighbourhood, the final area under ISIS control, on Sunday.
Sunday’s victory ends a month-long campaign to liberate the city from Islamic State militants.
Al- Saidi, the commander of the liberation of Falluja operations, announced the city was liberated Sunday after recapturing the neighborhood of al-Jolan from ISIS.
Standing in the al-Jolan neighborhood, he said this was the last area of Falluja that ISIS had control of.
Over 1,800 ISIS militants were killed during the military operations by the Iraqi forces to recapture the city and villages surrounding it, al-Saadi told al-Iraqiya TV.
“We announce from the central al-Jolan neighborhood that this neighborhood has been cleaned by the counterterrorism and federal police forces,” he said. “From here we announce to Iraqi people that the battle of Falluja is over.”
ISIS appears to be on the defensive across the Middle East — from its self-declared capital of Raqqa in Syria to Falluja, a strategically important city just 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the capital, Baghdad.
In a symbolic victory, troops from the Iraqi Federal Police raised the national flag over the Falluja mayor’s office Friday. The move came nearly four weeks after the start of a U.S.-backed offensive to liberate the city, the last major ISIS foothold in Iraq’s Anbar province.
It’s been a fierce campaign, with fighting taking place street by street. And bombs remain, even if most ISIS fighters have been driven from the city.
Many houses are booby-trapped, forcing Iraqi forces to move slowly and methodically to clear improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
“They don’t leave any house without first rigging it with explosives,” one counterterrorism member told CNN.