Iraq denies recapture of Fallujah dam

BAGHDAD – Iraq's Defense Ministry on Thursday denied reports that Iraqi army forces had managed to recapture a dam in the restive city of Fallujah that has been controlled in recent weeks by militants who the government says are linked to Al-Qaeda.

"Such reports are devoid of truth… and mere lies," the ministry said in a Thursday statement.

The Fallujah dam was seized weeks ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group, which took control of large swathes of the city last December.

The militants had closed off the dam for days, temporarily halting water supplies to most southern provinces before opening its floodgates and inundating several areas with water.

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.

ISIL militants are still in control of vast swathes of Fallujah, which remains inaccessible to Iraqi security forces. 

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