The Iraqi government deployed at least 20,000 troops to combat terrorists in ISIL-held western city of Fallujah, Iraqi television reported Sunday.
Simultaneously, the Iraqi armed forces issued a warning to the city’s civilian population to flee the city as soldiers prepared an operation to reclaim Fallujah.
“Twenty-thousand soldiers of the federal police forces as well as military vehicles and artillerymen arrived in the vicinity of Fallujah today and are preparing to attack,” Federal Police Chief Raed Shaker Jawdat said as quoted by Iraq’s Al Sumaria broadcaster.
The outlet added that government and popular forces had cut off terrorist communication routes ahead of the offensive, while aviation units struck ISIL positions.
Fallujah, in the western Anbar province, has been under ISIL’s control since 2014. Reports emerged recently that militants of the terrorist group began killing residents attempting to leave the city.