The Islamic State raises its flag over a base near Fallujah.
The Islamic State killed more than a dozen Iraq of soldiers and policemen in an attack near Fallujah in Anbar province, where the government has been trying to dislodge the group for the past year.
The Associated Press reported that the Islamic State attacked Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) positions outside of Fallujah on Aug 16. According to the AP, “four suicide attackers drove explosives-laden military vehicles into government forces’ barricades.”
The assault coincided with the release of an Islamic State video that showcases its forces overrunning a military outpost in Saqlawiyah near Fallujah. The video, which is from 2014, shows jihadists attacking the base with armored personnel carriers packed with explosives and a ground assault team. The Islamic State seized tanks, armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and other vehicles. The bodies of dozens of dead Iraqi security personnel are displayed.
The jihadist group took over Fallujah in January of 2014, nearly six months before it overran large portions of Iraq. Last month, Iraqi forces and their Iranian-backed Shiite militia allies started an offensive to try and retake the city as well as Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. The Iraqi offensive has made little gains in the past two months.
The US military is providing air support for the Iraqi military and the Iranian-backed militias. In the last week, US Central Command said it executed seven airstrikes in and around Fallujah. On Aug 16, four airstrikes “destroyed two ISIL [the dated acronym for the Islamic State] buildings, an ISIL VBIED, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL obstruction,” while another airstrike near Habbaniyah in the Fallujah-Ramadi corridor “struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL vehicles and an ISIL fighting position.” In addition, two airstrikes “destroyed two ISIL mortar firing positions and an ISIL vehicle” near Habbaniyah yesterday.
Screenshots from the Islamic State video from 2014:
Correction: This article has been updated; the video released by the Islamic State was from 2014, and not from last week as initially reported.