Earlier today, the Iraqi Army – assisted by the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) – captured the main police station at al-Sajar, a town located northeast of Fallujah.
According to a military source, some 20 ISIS fighters were killed during clashes there with mopping up operations still in progress in the town of al-Sajar itself.
Just yesterday, the Iraqi Army captured al-Kharmah; this town is located 4 kilometers east of al-Sajar town where sporadic skirmishes are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, ISIS launched two suicide trucks northwest of Fallujah today towards the Abu Shijil area, killing 16 soldiers according to Amaq news.
The suicide attackers were identified as Osama al-Jazrawi and Abu Hamza.
Nevertheless, the 1st stage of the Fallujah campaign is targeting areas east of the city; newly deployed Major General Qasem Soleimani seem to be carrying out a military pincer manuever which aims at squeezing ISIS forces out of the eastern region.
Once phase one is completed and ISIS is expelled, the 2nd stage of the offensive is expected to embroil Fallujah city in urban warfare.
In total, some 500-700 ISIS fighters are estimated to be held up in the city of Fallujah with hundreds more in the surrounding countryside.
Iraqi forces outnumber ISIS at least 10 to 1; however, government troops are unable to make rapid advances due to mines, improvised explosives and ISIS’ suicide bombers.
Nevertheless, shelling and airstrikes continued to target Fallujah today as ISIS fighters were given no safe haven inside the city.
One airstrike earlier today killed a large group of ISIS militants as can be seen below:
A zoomable map is avaliable here.