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After wrestling control of Fallujah from Islamic State militants in June, the Iraqi army is employing various methods in order to keep it from falling into their hands again.
Among the strategies being tested is the old medieval method of digging a giant trench around the city. The method is aimed at leaving a single entry and exit into the city.
Through such a tactic, the Iraqi army is hoping that its single will allow for easier inspection of cars entering and leaving the city. Ultimately, the security forces hope to limit the source of car bombs aimed at the country’s capital of Baghdad, 40 miles away.
Al Jazeera reports that Fallujah is the source of car bombs that have been frequently used to target the capital to devastating results.
According to authorities, ISIS militants have been using open desert areas surrounding the city to conduct their activities.
Construction of the trench is already in process – so far, the trench is planned to be 7 miles in length, 40 feet in width, and 5 feet in depth. The eastern edge will host the heavily patrolled main highway; the western side of the city lays adjacent to the Euphrates River, which provides a natural barrier for Fallujah.
This move to cut off all roads into the city allows the military more control to monitor the citizens coming in and out. Deputy Commander of Counterterrorism Forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi explains that the move would ” … protect the city’s residents, who have lived through many tragedies, as well as security forces deployed there.”
In addition to the construction of the trench, the Iraqis will employ other security measures to supplement their latest move – including forgery-proof identification cards and display badges containing electronic chips for vehicles.
Also in a surprising twist, the Iraqi government has recently decided to ban the use of its bomb detector wands – which were long proven ineffective – that have been located at nearly every checkpoint in the country.
The use of trenches and fortifications for protection in Iraq is not unique to Fallujah. Al Jazeera notes that Iraqi forces are also planning on creating a border trench between Anbar province, which has been a major province for ISIS, and Karbala. Baghdad will also reportedly be outfitted with trenches to protect select portions of the city from bombings.