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Iraq forces launch assault on is bastion

epaper Updated: May 24, 2016 09:57 IST

BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces on Monday launched assaults on the Islamic State group in the opening stages of an operation to retake Fallujah, one of the toughest targets yet in Baghdad’s war against the jihadists.

As Iraqi forces struck targets in and around the terror group’s bastion, the IS claimed bombings in neighbouring Syria that killed more than 120 people.

T he jihadist g roup has increasingly turned to its traditional tactic of killing civilians in bombings as it faces battlefield losses, and spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani appeared to acknowledge in a recent statement that IS would probably lose more ground.

“In the early hours of the mor ning today, the heroic fighters advanced from different sides” to retake “all the areas occupied by (IS) around Fallujah”, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced in televised remarks.

Abadi said the operation was supposed to start earlier, but “political problems and also the events... threatening security inside Baghdad delayed some of the preparations”.

IS has also carried out a series of deadly attacks in and around Baghdad this month.

First Published: May 24, 2016 06:14 IST