The fierce fight for the strategic Iraqi city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, was showing no sign of letting up Thursday.
Government forces and Shiite militias continued to fire on suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets, but they’ve run into heavy resistance from militants determined to keep their stranglehold on the city they’ve held for more than two years.
Tens of thousands of troops, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, had made progress, clearing villages to the north and south of the city, but the offensive has stalled — and this is where the real urban warfare begins.
Iraqi military officials say that’s partly out of concern for 50,000 civilians who remain trapped in the city, but it also comes down to the fact that ISIS has been able to successfully hold that ground.
The U.N. says an estimated 20,000 children are among the residents, basic food is in short supply and they’ve had no safe drinking water for months.