Iraqi military begins take back of Fallujah from Islamic State

FILE - In this photo released on Sunday, June 28, 2015, by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant waves his group's flag as he and another celebrate in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad. When world leaders convene for the U.N. General Assembly debate Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, it will be a year since the U.S. president declared the formation of an international coalition to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State group. Despite billions of dollars spent and thousands of airstrikes, the campaign appears to have made little impact. (Militant website via AP, File)

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is announcing the beginning of military operations to retake the Islamic State-held held city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

In a televised address late Sunday night, al-Abadi said Iraqi forces are “approaching a moment of great victory” against the Islamic State group. Fallujah is about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

The announcements follows territorial gains elsewhere by Iraqi ground troops against IS, most recently the capture of the western town of Rutba, located 240 miles west of Baghdad, on the edge of Anbar province.

IS still controls significant patches of Iraqi territory in the country’s north and west including the country’s second largest city of Mosul.

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