Iraqi forces have entered Fallujah under coalition air cover as a new phase begins to win back one of Islamic State’s key cities.
Troops backed by artillery and tanks went into the city from three directions, commanders told the AFP news agency.
The move was also confirmed to a crew from Reuters – who reported hearing explosions in the city’s southern Naimiya district.
“Iraqi forces entered Fallujah under air cover from the international coalition, the Iraqi air force and army aviation and supported by artillery and tanks,” Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi told AFP.
“Counter-terrorism service (CTS) forces, the Anbar police and the Iraqi army, at around 4am (0100 GMT), started moving into Fallujah from three directions.”
The commander said troops were meeting “resistance” from the IS fighters.
Despite many people having fled Fallujah, 50,000 are believed to still be trapped in the city about 40 miles west of Baghdad.
Some 500-1,000 IS troops are estimated to be in control, with the jihadists reportedly using civilians as human shields and killing people who try to flee.
The army, backed by an Iranian-backed Shia militia, began the push to take back Fallujah on 23 May and has tightened its grip on the surrounding region.
Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to be captured by Islamic State.
The took control in January 2014, six months before announcing a self-proclaimed caliphate in areas of Iraq and Syria.