1700 families flee flood-hit area of Iraq's Fallujah
At least 1700 Iraqi families have fled their homes in Fallujah's Abu Gharib district in the restive Anbar province after militants in control of a local dam opened its floodgates and inundated the area with water.
The Ministry of Migration and Displaced Persons has registered 700 families from Abu Gharib whose homes have been submerged. It is currently registering 1000 more who fled to neighboring areas, especially Baghdad, ministry official Haidar Aday told Anadolu Agency.
The Fallujah dam was recently seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group, which took control of large swathes of the city last December.
The militants had closed off the dam for days, temporarily halting the water supply to most southern provinces, Anbar local authority chief Sabah Karhout had told Anadolu Agency earlier.
Since last December, the Iraqi army has waged a major offensive in the Sunni-majority Anbar province with the stated aim of flushing militants – who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda – from Ramadi and Fallujah.
Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, meanwhile, continue to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll.
Since the offensive began last December, hundreds have been killed and injured in Fallujah and Ramadi, according to government officials.