ISIS Claims Control of Ramadi After Battle With Iraqi Forces

ISIS Claims Control of Ramadi After Battle With Iraqi Forces

Ramadi is the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, and now the Ramadi police and Iraqi forces are being shoved out or surrounded after ISIS forces have managed to take control of the main government compound within the city on Friday.
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By early afternoon, the militants had seized the government compound in downtown Ramadi, which is the capital of western Anbar province. Government forces had managed to hold on to the largely Sunni Muslim city of about 900,000 people in recent months, despite regular attacks by the Islamic State. The militant group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, seized most of the rest of Anbar last summer.

“The city’s fallen. They’ve taken it,” Maj. Omar Khamis al-Dahl, a senior officer in the Ramadi police, said by telephone.

The governor of Anbar province, Sohaib Alrawi, denied that Ramadi had fallen, saying in a tweet that the situation in the city was “dire” but that battles continued.

Dozens of soldiers fled the city overnight Thursday during the initial stages of the Islamic State attack, which involved heavy artillery and multiple car bombings, said Dahl. More than 60 police officers have been killed in the fighting, and hundreds of police and soldiers were surrounded in a military compound in the center of the city, he said.

Al Jazeera is reporting that ISIS claims it has control as well.

ISIL itself issued a statement in which it said its fighters “broke into the Safavid government complex in the centre of Ramadi”.
The operation “resulted in the control of it after killing the ‘murtadeen’ then blowing up the adjacent buildings of Anbar’s governorate and the Safavid Anbar police HQ.”
Safavid is a term used by ISIL in a derogatory way to refer to government forces and “murtadeen” designates Sunni tribal fighters battling alongside the government.

Ramadi is only 79 miles from Baghdad. ISIS is knocking on the front doorstep of the Iraqi government again, after they were able to take back Tikrit from ISIS just last month, with aid from U.S. airstrikes. This latest incursion and capture of Ramadi shows just how fragile and thin the Iraqi forces are. American lives were lost fighting over this same ground, and now more lives will likely be lost getting back again. Whether those lives are Iraqi or American, no one can truly say.

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