On May 23, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that he would start a new offensive to liberate the city of Fallujah from ISIL (Al Jazeera). Fallujah was the first city to fall under ISIL’s control in 2014 and has been under siege by Iraqi forces for 18 months (Al Jazeera). Iraqi forces, backed by a coalition of the Iraqi Security Forces, Popular Mobilization Forces and local tribes, began their assault to recapture Fallujah by entering through the city’s suburb of Nuaimiya (BBC). About 50,000 citizens have remained in Fallujah and have been long cut off from shipments of food or medicine (NY Times).
Just one day after Iraqi forces entered Nuaimiya, a large number of ISIL fighters attacked them (BBC). The forces came out victorious after a difficult fight (BBC). As the battle in the suburbs intensified, a UNICEF press release stated that at least 20,000 children were among the trapped civilians (UNICEF). Additionally, the United Nations warned that ISIL militants are holding hundreds of families hostage to be used as human shields (Reuters). On Wednesday, the Prime Minister stated that there would be a temporary halt in the invasion, postponing what was expected to be one of the biggest battles ever fought against ISIL (Reuters).
Tags: Terrorism, Iraq, Islamic State, Lee, Fallujah, ISIL