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Fallujah Fight Not Stopping Baghdad Attacks

FILE - Municipality workers clean up debris in the aftermath of a bomb attack in Baghdad northern Shaab district, Iraq, May 30, 2016.

The Iraqi offensive against Islamic State militants in Fallujah has not caused terrorist attacks in Baghdad to subside, as some inside the Iraqi capital expected, a military spokesman in Baghdad said Wednesday.

"Some inside the Iraqi government, some inside Baghdad itself felt the attacks were coming out of Fallujah," Col. Chris Garver, the spokesman for the coalition-led operation against Islamic State, told reporters at the Pentagon via teleconference from Baghdad.

"The attack on Fallujah has not, to this point, changed the rhythm of which they continue to try to launch these terror attacks inside Baghdad," he said.

Garver said Islamic State attacks on the capital have focused on "soft targets," such as police checkpoints and markets.

An attack on a market in Baghdad's Karbala district Tuesday killed 10 people and wounded 25.

The spokesman said the coalition does not expect Islamic State terror attacks to abate during the Ramadan holy month, because the attacks in Baghdad are an effort to "detract from the overall reality, which is that they're losing on the battlefield and they're not making any gains."

He told reporters Wednesday that it might be too early to look for a decrease in terror attacks. The operation to retake Fallujah began a little more than two weeks ago, but Garver said it is only now entering what he called the "tough fighting phase."

He said "any real result" from the fighting would be expected in the coming weeks.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.