Iraqi commanders says their forces have entered Fallujah in a major victory against Daesh militants.
One commander, quoted by AFP, said troops entered the city from three directions on Monday in a new phase of the operation to recapture it.
“We started early this morning our operations to break into Fallujah,” Sabah al-Norman, a spokesman for Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service, said.
The city, located about 40 miles west of Baghdad, is one of the last major Daesh strongholds in Iraq. The Takfiri group still controls territory in the country’s north and west, including Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.
In a televised speech to parliament on Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on residents of Fallujah to either leave the city or stay indoors.
Government officials and aid groups estimate that more than 50,000 people remain inside the center of the city.
Fallujah, which saw some of the heaviest fighting of the US military invasion between 2003 and 2011, was the first city in Iraq to fall to Daesh.
The Takfiri extremists seized control of Fallujah in January 2014, six months before they swept across northern and western Iraq and declared a caliphate.