Shakir Mahmud, the head of the Amiriyat al-Fallujah local council in Iraq's beleaguered Anbar Province, has announced that members of several powerful local tribes have gathered in the township to express solidarity in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.
Mahmud told Iraq's Alsumaria News on November 20 that a delegation of about 80 elders of the powerful Albu Issa tribe and other local tribes from the southern and Euphrates areas had gathered in the township.
IS gunmen have made numerous attempts to seize Amiriyat al-Fallujah, which is about 11 kilometers south of Fallujah and occupies a strategic position as part of the Iraqi National Army's defensive lines surrounding the capital.
Council head Mahmud warned on November 4 that IS militants were preparing to advance on the area with heavy weapons. He said that the township had obtained weapons, gear, and ammunition from the central government, but that the situation in Amiriyat al-Fallujah was "dire."
The extremist Sunni group tried to take over the whole township on November 17, but security and tribal forces were able to repel the attack, according to an RFE/RL correspondent in Iraq.
In another attempt to seize the township, Islamic State gunmen attempted to conduct surprise attacks against Amiriyat al-Fallujah on November 19. Security forces in the township managed to liberate a village in the south of Amiriyat al-Fallujah, near Habbaniya, the RFE/RL correspondent said.
The Albu Issa tribe, one of the most significant tribes in the Fallujah area, has fought against Islamic State in Amiriyat al-Fallujah. In 2006, the Albu Issa tribe were among those who joined the U.S. campaign against Al-Qaeda that would become known as the Sahwa, or Awakening.
Islamic State has carried out mass killings of another tribe, the Albu Nimr, who were members of the anti-IS Sahwa militia.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk