Iraqi forces seize most of Fallujah from ISIS

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from FoxNews,

Iraqi special forces swept into Fallujah on Friday, recapturing most of the city as the Islamic State terror group’s grip crumbled after weeks of fighting.

Thousands of trapped residents took advantage of the militants’ retreat to flee, some swimming across the Euphrates River to safety.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said it was “too early to tell” if Iraqi forces control all of the city. “There is still some fighting to be done.”

Carter said the U.S. military supported the Iraqi forces with advise and air support.

As many as 42,000 people have left Fallujah since the military operation against Fallujah began in late May, according to the United Nations. The Iraqi operation to retake Ramadi left that city largely in ruins. The city once was home to nearly half a million people, but the violence forced most of them to flee.

Fox News asked Carter about CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony Thursday saying the terror capacity of ISIS had not been diminished despite some 13,000 airstrikes, bringing into question the strategy against the group. Carter said the strategy against ISIS had “three parts to it” and defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria was “necessary but not sufficient.”

He added, “There are other places around the world to which ISIL has spread and then we have to protect our own homeland as well.”

The terror network has held Fallujah longer than any other city, capturing it in January 2014.

Despite the focus on control of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, U.S. military officials have said they want the Iraqi forces to continue plans to recapture Mosul, where the majority of ISIS fighters in Iraq are located.

Iraq’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi’s office tweeted that he was discussing the Mosul operation Friday with Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command.

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