CAMP TARIQ - Islamic State militants fought back vigorously overnight against an onslaught by the Iraqi army on a southern district of the city of Falluja, the group's bastion near Baghdad, officers said on Tuesday.
Soldiers from the elite Rapid Response Team stopped their advance overnight about 500 meters (yards) from the al-Shuhada district, the southeastern part of city's main built-up area, an army commander and a police officer said.
``Our forces came under heavy fire, they are well dug in in trenches and tunnels,'' said the commander speaking in Camp Tariq, the rear army base south of Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
A staff member of Falluja's main hospital said they received reports of 32 civilians killed on Monday. The toll could not be confirmed by a second source.