Iraqi Troops Had Claimed Southern Fallujah Cleared Weeks Ago
Days after the Iraqi military declared the entire city of Fallujah “liberated” from ISIS, and weeks after they’d initially entered the city through the southern gate, US officials today reported launching a flurry of airstrikes against southern Fallujah and killed at least 250 ISIS fighters.
The claims come as something of a shock, both because Iraq had claimed the Fallujah battle was over and because the US had previously not suggested they’d been killing all that many people in the Sunni majority city, which is now occupied by the government and Shi’ite militias.
Perhaps even more puzzlingly, Col. Chris Garver, a Pentagon spokesman, had downplayed the amount of resistance Fallujah was likely to see, and suggested the Iraqi military could quickly leave and turn the city over to a “holding force” of local police and tribal leaders.
US officials haven’t finalized the death toll, saying they are still “assessing the strikes,” but did confirm 40 vehicles destroyed in the salvo, and said all finds were consistent with their initial assessments that 250 or more were killed.
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