Islamic State militants fought back vigorously overnight and parried an onslaught by the Iraqi army on a southern district of the city of Falluja, the group’s bastion near Baghdad, officers said on Tuesday. An aid official warned of a “human catastrophe” unfolding in the city, with residents unable to escape. Soldiers from the elite Rapid Response Team stopped their advance overnight about 500 meters (yards) from the al-Shuhada district, the southeastern part of city’s main built-up area, an army commander and a police officer said. “Our forces came under heavy fire, they are well dug in trenches and tunnels,” said the commander speaking in Camp Tariq, the rear army base south of Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad. A staff member of Falluja’s main hospital said they received reports of 32 civilians killed on Monday. Medical sources had reported that the death toll in the city stood at about 50, 30 civilians and 20 militants, during the first week the offensive which started on May 23. Falluja has been under siege for more than six months. Foreign aid organization are not present in the city, but are providing help to those who manage to exit and reach refugee…
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