Middle East

Iraq battles IS in Fallujah days after declaring victory

  • In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016, medics treat a boy who escaped Islamic State militants in Fallujah, Iraq. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants.(Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)

    In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016, medics treat a boy who escaped Islamic State militants in Fallujah, Iraq. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants.(Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016, the national flag flies over a minaret in Fallujah, Iraq after forces re-took the city center after two years of Islamic State control. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants. (Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)

    In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016, the national flag flies over a minaret in Fallujah, Iraq after forces re-took the city center after two years of Islamic State control. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants. (Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016 shows a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq after Iraqi troops regained control of the city after two years of Islamic State militant control. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants.(Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)

    In this image taken by an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service photographer on Sunday, June 19, 2016 shows a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq after Iraqi troops regained control of the city after two years of Islamic State militant control. Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah after the city was declared liberated from the Islamic State group, the United Nations said, while an Iraqi commander reported fierce clashes as elite counterterrorism forces pushed to clear out the remaining militants.(Iraq Counterterrorism Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

An Iraqi military commander says his forces are battling Islamic State militants in the northern neighborhoods of Fallujah days after most of the city was declared liberated.

Brig. Gen. Haider al-Obeidi told The Associated Press on Monday that militants are holed up in houses and buildings, saying he hopes to clear them out "in the coming few days."

Al-Obeidi says most of the fighters are foreigners who cannot melt into the local population or sneak into other parts of the country still controlled by the extremist group. They include snipers and fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

The Fallujah offensive began in late May, and IS defenses in much of the city collapsed abruptly on Friday. It is located 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad.