Video & Pics, Ramadi Waiting for Final Assault to Root ISIS Out of City

Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:49:33

Iraqi troops who have fought their way deep into the ISIS stronghold of Ramadi are reinforcing their positions ahead of a planned final assault to capture the city.

Iraqi troops consolidate liberated neighborhoods, prepare for decisive offensive to recapture major city from ISIS terrorists.

Soldiers were clearing bombs from roads and homes in districts of Ramadi they had already taken since launching their assault on the city on Tuesday, state TV said.

Successfully recapturing Ramadi, a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates River valley just two hours' drive from Baghdad, would be one of the most important victories achieved by Iraq's armed forces against ISIS.

Ramadi, capital of mainly Sunni Muslim Anbar province, was ISIS's biggest prize of 2015.

Iraqi Forces in mob up operation in Al Huz region in Ramadi

The Baghdad government has long said it intended to recapture Ramadi before launching an offensive against Mosul, the largest city in Iraq's north and ISIS's main stronghold in the country.

Concern that civilians are still living in the areas held by the militants is slowing the troops' advance, the authorities say. Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the militants are using civilians as human shields.

State TV report that armed forces had finished securing the Hay al-Dhubbat neighborhood that it seized on Tuesday. The ultimate target of the government is to retake Mosul, a city with a pre-war population of close to 2 million.

"The liberation of dear Mosul will be achieved with the cooperation and unity of all Iraqis after the victory in Ramadi," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement on the state media website on Friday.

In a Friday sermon to rally the nation, read by an aide, Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani called on the government to make the fight against ISIS its top priority.

Iraqi Forces in mob up operation in Al Huz region in Ramadi

"To recover all the land from Daesh, to rebuild the residential areas, to return the displaced person are top priorities for everybody, foremost for the government's decision makers," said Grand Ayatollah Sistani's representative Ahmed al-Safi, in a sermon in the holy Shiite city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, broadcast on state TV.

On Friday, fighting continue in Ramadi, but mostly security forces worked to consolidate their positions and clear areas, which they have already claimed, of explosives and militants.

Iraqi Forces in mob up operation in Al Huz region in Ramadi

In the Houz district of Ramadi, at least 60 ISIS terrorists were also killed. Security forces killed 11 militants in Mudheij. Police killed nine militants and wounded four west of the city.

Near Ramadi, Security forces killed 54 militants in Falluja. Also the morgue in Mosul reported receiving 45 bodies from terrorist killed in Ramadi according to Iraqi nina news reports.

An Iraqi general, who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters that troops had moved to within 300 meters of the government building. "Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) resistance got stiffer as Iraqi forces moved closer to the government compound," he said.

Iraqi Forces in mob up operation in Al Huz region in Ramadi


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