More than Half of Ramadi Retaken by Iraqi Forces From ISIS

Wed Dec 9, 2015 13:30:12

More than half of Ramadi is now back in Iraqi control after a big push this week, the country's military said. The inroads came after Iraqi troops, counterterrorism unit members and federal police officers with participation of Popular Mobilization Forces targeted ISIS militants from three sides in a 24-hour period.

Iraq's Joint Military Command reported 60% of the Anbar province city had been retaken, including a Iraqi military headquarters in northern Ramadi, as well as western and southern parts of the city.

Dozens of ISIS terrorist died in the operation, according to the military. Iraqi troops also managed to confiscate a large amount of weaponry.

Iraqi security forces on Tuesday recaptured a large district in western the city of Ramadi near in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial security source said. Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni paramilitary tribal fighters stormed al-Ta'mim district in the western part of Anbar's provincial capital city of Ramadi after heavy house-to-house clashes, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The fierce battle resulted in the killing of at least 12 ISIS terrorists and the destroying of two of booby-trapped vehicles.

The latest advance inside the city of Ramadi came and allied paramilitary units, known as Hashd Shaabi, have recently recaptured several areas on the edges of Ramadi as part of their operations to flush out ISIS terrorist from the city.

The US-led coalition and the Iraqi Air Force provided backing for ground troops by launching strikes on explosives-laden vehicles approaching the area.

Separately, 15 ISIS terrorist were killed in an air strike by coalition aircraft on an ISIS position in an area north of Ramadi, the source said.

Besides its strategic significance - located in 120 kilometers west of Baghdad in the Sunni heartland- Ramadi has symbolic importance in Iraq's fight against ISIS.

ISIS tries to keep residents from fleeing

Starting last month, Iraqi forces began dropping leaflets on Ramadi urging people to leave ahead of a promised military offensive.

"To our people in the city of Ramadi, evacuate your families from the city immediately and go to the south through al Hameera area," the leaflets read, according to the Iraqi military.

But leaving isn't necessarily easy. Ramadi residents say that ISIS had set up additional checkpoints around the city to prevent people from fleeing.

"Daesh made it very clear to all of us that anyone who tries to flee the city will be considered an apostate. And you know what they will do to an apostate," said one resident, referring to ISIS' practice of detaining and killing those who don't accept its extreme ideology.

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