BAGHDAD, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Thursday tightened control on areas surrounding the Islamic State (IS)-held city of Fallujah, according to a security source.
Aided by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft cover, government troops and allied paramilitary tribal fighters managed to free Albu Da'iyj, about 20 km southwest of Fallujah, from IS militants, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
At least 16 IS militants were killed in the fighting, the source said.
Security forces also made advances in Albu Shejil and Nadhum al-Taqseem in northern Fallujah, killing at least 20 IS militants, the source said.
In Baghdad, the spokesman of the paramilitary units known as Hashd Shaabi, Karim al-Nouri, told reporters that government troops and paramilitary units "are advancing via several routes in order to tighten their grip on the besieged city of Fallujah and the nearby town of Garma."
Efforts are also underway to clear bombs planted by IS militants along the roads leading to Fallujah, the spokesperson said.
Fallujah, 50 km west of Baghdad, has been under IS control since early 2014.
It has been under Iraqi security forces' siege, who have been regularly shelling the city to weaken IS extremists.
Government troops and allied militias have been fighting for months to regain control of key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar from IS militants, who previously seized it and then attempted to advance towards Baghdad.