IS ‘seizes Iraqi city of Ramadi’
18 May 2015, Nirapad News: The Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to Islamic State (IS) after government forces abandoned their positions, officials says.
The police and military made a chaotic retreat after days of intense fighting, reports bbc.com.
But the US refused to confirm the capture, saying the situation was “fluid and contested” and it was too early to make “definitive statements”.
Ramadi is the capital of Iraq’s largest province, Anbar, and is just 70 miles (112km) west of Baghdad.
A statement purportedly from IS said its fighters had “purged the entire city”. It said IS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.
A very well-placed source in the Anbar governor’s office told the BBC Ramadi was now under the full control of Islamic State, and all government troops had withdrawn.
Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered troops to stand their ground, saying he was deploying Shia militia to the city.
But an army officer said that most troops had retreated to a military base in the city of Khalidiya, east of Ramadi.
Government troops were running out of ammunition and could not repel the massive onslaughts by IS, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Footage posted on social media showed military vehicles speeding away from Ramadi, with soldiers hanging off the sides.
Reports said Iraqi forces fled following a series of suicide car bomb attacks on Sunday.
Four almost simultaneous explosions hit police defending the Malaab district in southern Ramadi. Later, three more suicide bombers drove explosive-laden cars into the gate of the provincial military headquarters, the Anbar Operation Command, officials said.
Earlier, Abadi called on pro-government forces to “hold their positions and preserve them and not allow Daesh (IS) to extend to other areas in Ramadi”.