Iraqi special forces fighting in Fallujah

2014-01-02 22:39
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Baghdad - Iraqi special operations forces were on Thursday fighting in the city of Fallujah, half of which is reportedly under the control of militants linked to al-Qaeda, their commander said.

"We entered Fallujah with heavy clashes," Major General Fadhel al-Barwari said in an online statement, without providing further details.

An interior ministry official said earlier that half of Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad, was under the control of fighters from al-Qaeda-linked group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A witness said that militants had set up checkpoints, each manned by six to seven people, in central and south Fallujah.

Police in the city abandoned most of their positions on Wednesday and militants burned some police stations, seized weapons and freed more than 100 prisoners, officers said.

In another incident a pickup truck laden with explosives blew up on a busy commercial street on Thursday evening in the city of Balad Ruz, 70km northeast of Baghdad, destroying several shops, destroying several shops.

At least 19 people were killed and 37 wounded, according to the security officials and health officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

Read more on:    iraq

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