Hundreds of people have fled the Iraqi city of Fallujah as government forces continue with a major operation to liberate the city, one of the remaining strongholds of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in Iraq.
A group of civilians numbering in the hundreds made it out of the city — where people are being prevented by Daesh from exiting — on Friday with assistance from Iraqi forces.
An estimated 50,000 civilians still remain trapped in the Daesh-held city by nearly 1,000 terrorists.
There has been no reference to the toll among Iraqi forces in the operation.
Fallujah is 70 miles west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Daesh overran Fallujah in January 2014, some six months before the terrorist group launched a major offensive in Iraq and took over some other areas.
According to Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, the commander of the Iraqi Federal Police Forces, security forces have so far managed to evacuate 760 people, mostly women and children, from the northern outskirts of Fallujah.
Daesh “gave us food that only animals would eat,” said a woman identified as Umm Omar, who fled Fallujah along with over 10 members of her family.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched a massive operation on May 22 to recapture Fallujah, the first Iraqi city to fall to Daesh.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces destroyed the terrorist group’s telecommunications center and two bomb-laden cars in al-Jisr area in northern Fallujah, killing at least four Daesh terrorists in the process.
Separately, Oday al-Khidran, a commander of the Popular Mobilization units fighting alongside Iraqi security forces, said on Friday that they discovered the largest Daesh-dug tunnel network connecting different neighborhoods of Fallujah.
He said the terror group used the tunnels to minimize its losses and protect its front lines.
Iraqi military officials on Friday announced the death of three senior Daesh commanders in the northern city of Mosul — another larger city held by Daesh — during an air raid by Iraqi jet fighters.
Local news outlets cited a statement issued by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command as adding that the airstrikes also killed at least 11 terrorists who accompanied the commanders and demolished two of their vehicles.