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Iraqi forces liberated the Fallujah natural gas plant held by the Islamic State on Monday, according to local news reports that cited an anonymous security source in the Anbar province.
"The security forces were able this morning to liberate Fallujah gas plant located in Shohada neighborhood south of the city,” the source said.
Government forces will continue their efforts to free the area from ISIS control, according to the source, who pointed out that the terrorist group has “suffered great losses of life and equipment.”
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At its peak, ISIS was said to be bringing in around US$1.5 million a day from the illegal sale of Iraqi and Syrian oil, but those profits have since dwindled both in the face of military losses and depressed oil prices.
The forces conducted the maneuver as part of a larger operation to restore Iraqi government control over the entire city of Fallujah, which lies just 40 miles west of Baghdad.
ISIS gained control of the city in January 2014 and used it as a launch pad for further attacks in nearby areas in Iraq.
The military has set up safe corridors for civilians trapped in the city to get out safely. There have been several reports of ISIS gunning people down as they flee the city, as well as cars exploding due to mines placed by fighters.
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Iraqi forces said Fallujah’s southern border and 47 nearby villages had been secured last week.
According to Iraqi authorities, ISIS now controls 14 percent of the country, down from 40 percent in 2014. The group has also lost an estimated 20 percent of the territory it once controlled in Syria—most of those losses are around oil facilities.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…