Iraqi forces on Thursday (November 2nd) launched their offensive on al-Qaim from three sides after tightening the noose on the western side along the Euphrates, the Anbar Operations Command said.
Late on Wednesday, Iraqi troops retook the areas of Jreijib, al-Kantara, al-Fayadhiya, Kilo 7 and al-Hai al-Sinae around al-Qaim, command spokesman Col. Mohammed al-Dulaimi said.
They started to storm al-Qaim at dawn Thursday, he added.
"The first defence line of the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS), represented by landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted around the city, has been broken," he said.
"Our forces, supported by the international coalition, are now clashing with the terrorists," he said, adding that at least 20 ISIS elements were killed in today's battles.
Al-Dulaimi estimates that there are a few hundred ISIS elements in the city.
"They may attempt to flee to Syria through the southern side [of al-Qaim]," he said. "Therefore, all roads leading in that direction have been closed."