After six months of laying siege to the city, Iraqi army has started full fledged operation to rid the city of Falluja from ISIS. After taking control of Ramadi in early 2016, Falluja is the perhaps the strongest ISIS stronghold in the region and it is very close to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Iraqi army has already reached outskirts of the city and took control of a police station from the militants. As the army progresses they are getting support from US air strikes. A shi’ite militia army called Hashid Shaabi is trying to take control of Saqlawiya village which lies to the north of Falluja.
According to reports, top ISIS commander Haji Hamsa has been killed in the operation. In the meanwhile Kurdish Peshmerga forces have captured six villages outside Mosul. Mosul is the largest Iraqi city under ISIS siege. After Falluja, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi plans to retake Mosul by the end of 2016 which will be telling blow for ISIS in Iraq. Capturing the villages around Mosul will make Iraqi army’s operation into Mosul smoother. ISIS has retaliated with a number of suicide bombings in Baghdad killing 20 and injuring nearly 50 people.