Fallujah- Officials at the Iraqi joint military operation rooms announced on Tuesday the start of the second phase of the mission launched for freeing Fallujah from ISIS terrorists.
Simultaneously, parliamentary and political figureheads pressed on demands to cease all random and avenge-spurred shelling launched by Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias.
The PMF is an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed mainly from Shi’ite Muslim armed groups and militias.
Chairman of the Iraqi Parliament Migration Committee’s affairs Raad al-Dahlaky told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that “events taking place in Fallujah are brutal and aimed at taking vengeance by targeting the souls of the innocent for the mere fact of them being Sunnis.”
“We pressed demands and were looking forward to Fallujah being quickly liberated from ISIS by efforts spent by army forces, police and the people of Anbar; but why was the government so determined on the PMF taking part in a battle already rooted out in favor of our security forces?,” he said.
Operation room Spokesman Brigadier General Yahya al-Zubaidi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the first phase of the offensive launched a few days ago has been successful and transition into the second phase has begun.
Despite Fallujah’s liberation being underway, medical sources at the Fallujah hospital reported the death of over 61 civilians, among which some are women and children, and the injury of 120 people. Casualties registered were killed or injured by random shelling of the PMF, medical sources revealed.
Local Fallujah council member Khudair Al-Rashed told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that over 75 families out of the 10 thousand, who are subject to lockdown by ISIS terrorists, have successfully escaped.
Security forces entered and centralized in the southern side of the city, he added.
“ISIS is blockading thousands of families inside and surrounding Fallujah; the extremist organization is using families as human shields for protection.
“Terrorists have been using residential compounds and neighborhoods as hideouts,” said al-Rashed.
Moreover, the U.N.’s refugee agency reiterated its deepening concerns for the civilians of Fallujah.
Fallujah in January 2014 became the first Iraqi city to be captured by ISIS, six months before the group declared its so-called caliphate.
The city on the Euphrates River had a prewar population of about 300,000. Located in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, roughly 69 kilometers west of Baghdad, Fallujah is known as the City of Minarets and Mother of Mosques.