In the militant-held town of Fallujah about 40 miles west of Baghdad, Iraqi forces are on Thursday are clearing territory recently retaken from the Islamic State group. Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces secured the southern edge of Fallujah on Sunday and pushed into the city itself Wednesday.

Under heavy ISIS counter-attacks, Iraqi troops swept east across Fallujah's southern Shuhada neighborhood. The militant group launched mortars and rockets on Iraqi forces that were operating under the cover of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

The operation to retake Fallujah was announced in late May. It has been under the control of the militant group for longer than any other territory in Iraq, and the city has proven a complex target as ISIS has had more than two years to dig in and erect defensive positions.