A major battle has begun for a city in Iraq and that's where we begin today's show.I'm Carl Azuz, thank you for watching.
Falluja is located in central Iraq, along the banks of the Euphrates River.It's been controlled by the ISIS terrorist group since early 2014.In fact, it was the first Iraqi city that ISIS captured as part of its plan to create its own Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.The fight to take Falluja back involves Iraqi troops, police and militias and they're supported by U.S.-led airstrikes.But trapped in the crossfire between these forces and the ISIS fighters who control the city, an estimated 10,000 civilian families according to the United Nations.The Iraqi forces dropped leaflets on the city, telling residents how they can get out safely.But activists in the area say ISIS is not allowing civilians to go and that some have died trying to leave.Falluja is where dozens of U.S. troops were killed during the Iraq war in 2004.It's a strategic city that's no stranger to terrorists or violence.
Falluja has a long history of bloody battles.It's considered a hotbed of Sunni insurgent groups.Why Falluja matters.This was the first city to fall to ISIS, months before any other city in Iraq in January of 2014.Extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq before that use Falluja as a symbol of Sunni resistance.
Now, for the Shias of Iraq, many of them feel that a lot of the terrorist attacks that target them, whether it's ISIS or al Qaeda in Iraq before that, those attacks they feel stemmed from Falluja, especially with its proximity to Baghdad.So, they really have wanted to see ISIS cleared out of that city for a very long time.In May 2016, Iraqi security forces launched an operation to recapture the city from ISIS.Now, with this new offensive underway right now, it's expected to last a very long time and expected to be bloody if history is anything to go by.Here, what remains a major issue is the civilians who may still be trapped inside that city.
The head of security for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has lost his job.A House of Representatives committee announced the change earlier this week.It followed a congressional hearing on mismanagement at the TSA, the organizations in charge of screening passengers and cargo at airports across the U.S.But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, says it's had a number of security failures recently, and some had swelled long lines at airport checkpoints, causing hundreds of passengers to miss their flights.The TSA says Kelly Hogan wasn't fired specifically for doing anything wrong, but that the agency wanted a different approach to security leadership.It's saying that a number of management changes are ahead, and that they'll deliver better leadership and screening operations at American airports.