Iraq: Military retakes Ramadi from ISIS
BAGHDAD — Iraqi military forces have retaken a strategic government complex in the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants who have occupied the city since May.
An Iraqi military spokesman had announced that Ramadi had been fully freed of militants.
But the head of military operations in Anbar says troops have only retaken the government complex and that parts of the city remain under ISIS control.
Troops raised the Iraqi flag on top of the government compound in central Ramadi, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said Monday.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted his appreciation for those involved in the victory:
Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney also tweeted his thanks for the U.S. troops who supported the mission:
Ramadi, a predominantly Sunni Arab city, fell to ISIS in May, a major setback in the country’s effort to contain the terror group.
The city has strategic importance. Anbar province is the heartland of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim population, and Ramadi is close to Baghdad.
Rasoul said he is confident the military will retake other cities captured by ISIS.
“We will liberate all the other places like we liberated Juif al Nasser and Tikrit and Baiji and other areas.”
The U.S.-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes on ISIS targets congratulated the Iraqi military Monday.
“The clearance of the government center is a significant accomplishment and is the result of many months of hard work by the Iraqi Army, the Counter Terrorism Service, the Iraqi Air Force, local and federal police and tribal fighters,” coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.
Fighting in and around the city is likely to continue for some time, analysts say. ISIS is expected to stage ambushes in outlying suburbs, to prevent the city’s pacification and rehabilitation.
In the view of the Institute for the Study of War, “Ramadi will remain exposed to counterattacks by ISIS, particularly from the north from ISIS-held Hit district, if (Iraqi security forces) shift forces away from Ramadi to focus on other operations.”
Additional reporting by the Associated Press