WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The offensive to retake the city from militants has been delayed to prevent excessive civilian casualties, Hussaini explained.
"The only reason that we slowed down a little bit is just because we were getting a lot of reports saying there were still civilians [in Fallujah] that Daesh was using as human shields," he said. "We are hoping three, four days from now, at the most a week, that Fallujah will be free, 100 percent."
The Iraqi Army and PMF, backed by US airstrikes, launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 22. The advance was stalled into its second week so the armed forces can be certain "whoever is left is only 100 percent ISIS [Islamic State]," Hussaini explained.
"If we free Fallujah, we are going to probably contain Daesh in Iraq, at least 33-40 percent," Hussaini said, anticipating the liberation of the city will be "a great victory."
Asked about the strategic importance of the Iraqi government retaking the city from the Islamic State, Husseini stated, "I think they will collapse."
Hussaini noted that rebuilding the city and reconciling the people with the government in Baghdad after Daesh is exiled "is going to take a lot of time."
"Fallujah has been an obstacle to the government… and to the American forces," Husseini said of the city where US forces faced the bloodiest combat following the 2003 invasion and overthrow of the Saddam Hussein government.
Fallujah is one of the last remaining stronghold for the Islamic State in Iraq, followed by Mosul, the country’s second largest city.