Iraqi Forces Assess The Damage To Fallujah As They Secure The City

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's army sought on Monday to eliminate Islamic State militants holed up in farmland west of Fallujah to keep them from launching a counterattack on the city a day after Baghdad declared victory over IS there. Backed by air strikes from a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi artillery bombarded targets as troops closed in on up to 150 insurgents in areas along the southern bank of the Euphrates river, an army officer participating in the operation said. The government's recapture of Fallujah, an hour's drive west of the capital, was part of a broader offensive against IS, which seized large swathes of Iraq's north and west in 2014 but is now being driven back by an array of forces. Fallujah's recovery lent fresh momentum to the campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the biggest anywhere in the jihadists' self-proclaimed caliphate and which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pledged to retake this year. Colonel Ahmed al-Saidi, who participated in Monday's advance, said ground forces were moving cautiously to avoid triggering roadside bombs planted by Islamic State. "They (holed-up militants) have two options: either they surrender or they get killed

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