During the five-week battle to recapture Fallujah from ISIS terrorists, hundreds of Iraqi soldiers were killed and over 3,000 were wounded.
Since the beginning of Iraq's war against ISIS in June 2014, when almost a third of the country's territory was seized after the dramatic collapse of the Iraqi army, officials have either refused to comment or downplayed the numbers of casualties among Iraqi security forces.
General Hadi Erzaje, deputy of the Fallujah military operations commander, previously told MEE: "We have casualties, but not that many. We are involved in fighting so we cannot reveal such information.”
But a senior security official speaking on condition of anonymity told MEE that at least 394 members of the security forces were killed and 3,308 wounded in the battle, which started on 23 May and ended earlier this month.
Medical and other military sources put the death toll even higher, telling MEE this week that more than 900 soldiers were killed in the battle.
These numbers do not include members of militias slain while fighting in Fallujah. Nor have Iraqi officials released figures for deaths of Fallujah residents. More than 80,000 residents are estimated to have been displaced during the fighting.
The same sources said that 35,000 Iraqi forces, backed by multi-sect paramilitary troops and the US-led international coalition against ISIS, killed thousands of militants during the offensive.
The recapture of the city represents a "devastating blow" to the organisation, analysts and military officers told MEE.
A US military official told the Military Times on Thursday that the true size of ISIS’s fighting force was in question after Fallujah.
For at least the second time in recent weeks, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced the liberation of Fallujah and raised the Iraqi flag on government buildings in the city centre.
But until now, it has been unclear what the cost of the campaign has been for Iraqis.