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Iraqi Forces Battling IS Reach Fallujah Center


Iraqi security forces enter central Fallujah after fight against the Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 17, 2016.

Iraqi security forces enter central Fallujah after fight against the Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 17, 2016.

Iraqi Special Forces soldiers recaptured a Fallujah city building from Islamic State (IS) fighters Friday.

The Iraqi gain came after a battle to reach the city center that lasted nearly one month.

Fallujah was once a stronghold for IS militants. Now, Iraqi forces, supported by U.S.-led airstrikes, have pushed IS out of the city center.

Iraq’s federal police chief said taking the municipal building is a victory for coalition forces.

"The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolizes the restoration of the state's authority" in Fallujah, he said.

The Islamic State group captured Fallujah in 2014. After heavy fighting in the past month, Iraqi forces have retaken nearly half the city.

In this latest offensive, troops entered the city early in the morning and met little resistance from IS militants.

Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi said, "There is a mass flight of Daesh (IS) to the west that explains this lack of resistance. There are only pockets of them left and we are hunting them down.”

Security officials say many IS members fled the city this week by posing as civilians fleeing the conflict as the offensive intensified.

I’m Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.

Joshua Fatzick reported this story for VOANews.com. Mario Ritter adapted his report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

municipal adj. relating to the government of a city or town

landmark n. a building, structure of formation that is easy to see and recognized by many people

symbolize v. an act or achievement that represents something

restoration n. the returning of something to a former state or condition

pockets n. small areas or groups

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