Iraq battles IS in Fallujah days after declaring victory

Formal government forces are screening men to prevent Islamic State militants from disguising themselves as civilians to slip out of Fallujah.

Iraqi special forces backed by US -led airstrikes have taken control of the neighborhoods of al-Shurta and al-Jughaifi, al-Obeidi told the AP on Tuesday. IS forces continue to control about 20 percent of the city and are holed up in the northern districts.

Baghdad-Fighting in the Iraqi city of Fallujah has displaced at least 30,000 people in three days, the Norwegian Refugee Council said Sunday, warning that a humanitarian disaster was unfolding.

The top special forces commander for the Fallujah operation told local al-Sumaria TV late Monday that the offensive killed 2,500 IS fighters.

Aid workers are struggling to provide water, food and shelter as the exodus overwhelms camps run by the Iraqi government and humanitarian groups.

But in Fallujah, Iraqi fighters face snipers and bombs as they fight to eliminate IS militants from the city they have held for more than two years.

The Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shiite militias have made significant gains in the effort to liberate the strategically important Iraqi city of Fallujah from the Islamic State.

Some 90,000 civilians remained in the city at the start of the present assault, of whom 68,000 have fled, many of them over the past twenty-four hours since Isis reversed its previous policy of forbidding anybody to leave on pain of death.

"All the other places you have heard about, like Tikrit or Ramadi, they have been easy, but this fight is hard".

Human Rights Watch reported that the Iraqi police take part in the war crimes against the population of Fallujah.

The city is a devastated shell after the vast majority of civilians - some 60,000 of them have been trapped in Fallujah since the fighting began - managed to escape when ISIL withdrew from key checkpoints on Thursday to concentrate their fighters in a last-ditch defence. UNHCR called for $17.5 million to meet the immediate needs of the growing number of displaced.

An Iraqi aid worker employed by the government at a camp in Amriyat al-Fallujah said the resources were inadequate to deal with the scope of the crisis.

On Saturday he ordered new measures, which will see 10 new refugee camps erected, to help the displaced people.

Upwards of 3.4 million Iraqis have been displaced since January 2014, according to the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

  • Rosalie Stanley