Iraqi government forces have retaken the main government compound in the city of Falluja from Islamic State (IS) militants, a top commander has said.
Lt Gen Abdul Wahhab al-Saadi said that elite Counter Terrorism Force troops and rapid response forces had “liberated” the city council building.
They earlier reportedly recaptured several areas to the south and east.
Falluja, only 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, has been held by IS longer than any other city in Iraq or Syria. The jihadist group overran Falluja in January 2014, six months before it seized control of large parts of northern and western Iraq.
Government forces launched the offensive to recapture Falluja almost four weeks ago, after besieging the city and its suburbs for several months.
On Friday, federal police raised the Iraqi national flag above the city council building, according to a military statement cited by state television. Counter Terrorism Force personnel also entered the area surrounding the Falluja General Hospital and tightened the siege on it, the statement added. “The liberation of the government compound, which is the main landmark in the city, symbolises the restoration of the state’s authority,” federal police chief Raed Shaker Jawdat was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. Mr Jawdat said government forces had met limited resistance as they advanced and were pursuing militants, who are thought to be regrouping in the west.