Iraqi forces retake Fallujah from Daesh
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says city has been recaptured
Iraqi forces have retaken the western city of Fallujah from Daesh, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said late Friday.
“Fallujah is back home,” Abadi said in a televised speech. “Our goal is to protect the holy things of the people of Fallujah and to ensure the security of the civilians there... There is no place for you in Iraq. The Iraqi people are united against you.”
Earlier Friday, officials said a number of government buildings in the city had been taken back from Daesh, which took the city in Anbar province in early 2014. An operation to recapture Fallujah was launched last month.
The campaign involves army troops, counter-terrorism forces, federal police units, the Hashd al-Shaabi -- an umbrella of Iraqi Shia militias -- and armed tribesmen.
Located along the Euphrates River about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of capital Baghdad, around 90,000 residents are believed to be in the city.
Iraq has suffered a security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.
According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.