الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

IS steps up assault on Iraq's Ramadi

Iraqi security forces personnel on the streets of Ramadi (15 April 2015)

Iraq’s military has sent reinforcements to Ramadi, but they have been unable to halt IS attacks

Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its assault on the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, launching a series of suicide bomb attacks on a government compound.

Anbar provincial council member Athal al-Fahdawi told the BBC the compound was within range of IS weapons and that it and the city were “in great danger”.

Military reinforcements sent to Ramadi were not sufficient to repel the jihadists’ attacks, he warned.

On Wednesday, IS captured three villages on the outskirts of the city.

Nine people were also reportedly killed by militants in Albu Ghanim, to the north-east, from where hundreds of civilians fled after security forces withdrew.

The Kurdish website Rudaw said four of the victims were police officers.

People leave the Iraqi city of Ramadi as Islamic State militants capture villages on its outskirts

Civilians have been fleeing Ramadi for nearby government-held areas

Earlier this month government forces dealt a major blow to IS by recapturing the city of Tikrit, which the group seized last June.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said last week that they would follow the victory in Tikrit with campaigns in Anbar province, much of which has been controlled by IS since early 2014, and the town of Baiji, near Iraq’s most important oil refinery.

But IS responded by launching its own offensives on Ramadi and the Baiji refinery.

The US military estimates that IS has lost 25% to 30% of its territory in Iraq to government forces since the US-led coalition air campaign began in August.

However, the group still controls swathes of northern and western Iraq, including the second city of Mosul, which Mr Abadi hopes to recapture later this year.

Map of Iraq and Syria

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