May 23, 2016 / 7:30 PM / 3 years ago

ICRC worried for civilians trapped in Iraq's Falluja

Fighters from Iraqi Shiite group Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada gather near Falluja, Iraq, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in Falluja, a city west of Baghdad that Iraqi forces are trying to recapture from Islamic State, with limited access to food, water and healthcare, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday.

“People of Falluja have already suffered enormously as a result of relentless fighting in the area,” the ICRC’s head of delegation in Iraq, Katharina Ritz, said in a statement.

The offensive to dislodge the militants from the town, situated 50 km (30 miles) from the capital, was announced on Sunday.

Falluja was the first Iraqi city to fall to Islamic State, in January 2014. It also suffered damage in U.S. offensives against al-Qaeda insurgents in 2004.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by John Stonestreet

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