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We have victory in Fallujah, says Iraqi PM

The govt HQ, the municipal building, is in the control of Iraqi forces but militants still control a significant portion of Fallujah, an hour's drive west of Baghdad, and many streets and houses remain mined with explosives. Photo: June 15, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Reuters Baghdad, Iraq Jun 18, 2016, 04.41 AM (IST)
Iraqi forces on Friday entered the centre of Falluja, the Iraqi city longest held by Islamic State, nearly four weeks after the start of a US-backed offensive that cleared out the tens of thousands of residents still there.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory shortly after nightfall, as government forces continued pushing into parts of the city held by the militants.

Security forces "took control of areas inside the city. There are still some pockets that need to be cleared in the next few hours," he said in a brief speech on state television.

Government troops, supported by multiple air strikes from a US-led coalition, recaptured the municipal building, though the ultra-hardline militants still controlled a significant portion of Falluja, an hour's drive west of Baghdad, and many streets and houses remain mined with explosives.

Federal police raised the Iraqi state flag above the government building and continued pursuing insurgents, according to a military statement. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Iraqi forces had taken back a portion of the city, although he added,"There's still some fighting to be done."
(Reuters)
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