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U.S. Commander Says Iraqi Forces Retook Third Of Fallujah


Iraqi security forces gather in center of Fallujah on June 20.

Iraqi security forces gather in center of Fallujah on June 20.

A U.S. military commander in Baghdad says Iraqi forces have cleared only a third of Fallujah, contradicting a claim by Iraq's government that it had liberated the city from the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.

Colonel Christopher Garver, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against IS, said on June 21 that a third of Fallujah had been "cleared" of militants.

Most of the cleared terrain is in the south of the city and "clearing operations continue outward from the city center," Garver added.

Iraqi forces pushed into the center of Fallujah on June 17, retaking a government complex.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said security forces had retaken most of Fallujah, and that remaining IS pockets would be "cleaned out within hours."

But there have been persistent clashes between Iraqi forces and IS fighters holed up in neighborhoods along the city's northern edge.

The city, located 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, has been under IS control since mid-2014.

Based on reporting by AP and the BBC
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