Washington : The U.S. military has said that its coalition strikes have killed 70 Islamic State militants including the group’s commander during the bid to recapture the city of Falluja. Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the US-led military campaign against ISIS said Maher al-Bilawi, commander of Islamic State fighters in Falluja, was killed on Wednesday, reports the Guardian.
He said that over the past four days, the coalition had carried out 20 strikes in support of the campaign. Meanwhile, a Shia militia leader reportedly said the final battle to recapture the Islamic State stronghold near Baghdad will start in days, not weeks.
Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation, said that the first phase of the offensive that started on Monday is nearly finished, with the complete encirclement of the city that lies 50km west of the Iraqi capital. Falluja, has been under ISIS control since January 2014 and the Human Rights Watch warned last month, that ISIS was barring civilians from leaving Falluja and that residents faced starvation due to food shortages and exorbitant prices after an extended siege.