Fallujah: Iraqi forces face tough ISIL resistance
Iraqi forces are facing tough resistance on the outskirts of Fallujah, as they attempt to retake the key city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS group), where there are mounting fears for more than 50,000 civilians trapped there.
Lieutenant-General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, the commander of the operation, said ISIL fighters launched a fierce counter-attack on Naimiyah, a suburb south of Fallujah early on Tuesday before the armed group was repelled.
"There were around 100 fighters involved, they came at us heavily armed but did not use car bombs or suicide bombers," he told the AFP news agency.
Saadi said Iraqi forces, which also include police and army units, were eventually able to repel the attack, killing 75 ISIL fighters.
He did not give a figure for losses on the pro-government side, however sources told Al Jazeera that at least 15 Iraqi security forces and members of allied Shia militias had been killed.
Fallujah, 50km west of Baghdad, is one of the two remaining major Iraqi cities still in ISIL hands, the other being Iraq's second-largest city Mosul.