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In Iraq battle, IS prevents Fallujah residents from fleeing

The Islamic State group is preventing people from fleeing Fallujah amid a military operation to recapture the city west of Baghdad, a local Iraqi official and aid groups said on Wednesday.

Thousands of civilians are estimated to remain inside Fallujah, located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, which IS has held for over two years. On Sunday, government forces launched a large-scale offensive, teaming up with paramilitary troops and backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition.

Nearly 20 families have fled from Fallujah's outskirts, where sporadic clashes have been taking place, since the offensive started, said Shakir al-Issawi, the head of the council...

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