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Iraq 'liberates' Ramadi from militants' grip

Anbar Police Chief Ismail al-Mahalawi said ISIL members had been flushed out of the city in a military operation first launched early this month.

22.05.2014
Iraq 'liberates' Ramadi from militants' grip

FALLUJAH, Iraq

Most districts of Ramadi, capital of Iraq's western Anbar province, have been liberated from the grip of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in a recent military operation, Anbar's police command said Thursday, describing the operation as the "largest" of its kind.

Anbar Police Chief Ismail al-Mahalawi said ISIL members had been flushed out of the city in a military operation first launched early this month.

He told Anadolu Agency that the operation had helped liberate the southern parts of Ramadi, noting that scores of ISIL militants had been killed while others escaped.

Al-Mahalawi said 15 vehicles used by ISIL militants had been destroyed during the operation.

He said most areas of Ramadi were now controlled by the Iraqi army and police with help from local tribesmen.

A tribal source, meanwhile, said clashes were still ongoing between Ramadi tribesmen and army troops in an area 30km northwest of Ramadi.

Since last December, the Iraqi army has waged a major offensive in the Sunni-majority Anbar province with the stated aim of clearing militants – who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda – from Fallujah and Ramadi.

Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, however, continue to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll.

Since the offensive began some five months ago, hundreds have been killed and injured in the two flashpoint cities, according to government officials.

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