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Iraqi Troops Launch Attack To Take Back Ramadi From Islamic State

The Iraqi army has advanced into the center of the city, whose capture by Islamic State militants earlier this year was a major and embarrassing defeat for Iraq's government.
December 22, 2015, 10:25am
Camiones del ejército iraquí avanzando hacia Ramadi a principios de mes. Imagen vía EPA

Iraq's armed forces stormed the center of Ramadi on Tuesday to try to dislodge Islamic State (IS) militants who have held the western city since May, said a spokesman for the counter-terrorism units.

The operation to recapture Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, began early last month after a months-long effort to cut off supply lines to the city, whose fall to IS was a major defeat for Iraq's weak central government.

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"Our forces are advancing toward the government complex in the centre of Ramadi," said spokesman Sabah al-Numani. "The fighting is in the neighbourhoods around the complex, with support from the air force."

Related: A US Airstrike Accidentally Killed Nine Iraqi Soldiers

Iraqi intelligence estimates the number of IS fighters entrenched in the center of Ramadi, the capital of Western Anbar province, at between 250 and 300.

Retaking the city would provide a major psychological boost to Iraqi security forces after IS seized a third of Iraq, a major OPEC oil producer and US ally, last year.

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