Islamic State fighters destroy last bridge as Iraqi forces push into Ramadi

BAGHDAD -- Besieged Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Ramadi destroyed a lock on the Euphrates River that served as a bridge as government forces on Thursday sought to cement their gains around the militant-held city west of Baghdad.

See Full Article

Since Iraq's military launched its push on Ramadi earlier this month, the militants have destroyed all other bridges leading into the city, both on the Euphrates and its tributary, the Warar River.

Iraqi Maj Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, the head of military operations in the western Anbar province, said the lock destroyed Thursday was the last remaining bridge from the city centre to the northwest.

"Daesh forces trying to stop our progress bombed the last bridge which connects the city centre," he said, referring to IS by its Arabic language acronym.

The locks' destruction leaves some 300 IS fighters trapped in the centre of the city, he added.

Col. Steven Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad, said the destruction of the bridge may prove to be a tactical mistake for IS.

"What they've also done now is they've really cut themselves off," he said. "So the fighters left on the north side of the river can't retreat and the fighters on the south side of the river can't send reinforcements."

Muhannad Haimour, the spokesman for the Anbar governor's office, said he received reports from residents still inside Ramadi that IS was also destroying buildings and radio towers.

"We've seen this before; they tend to blow up not just bridges, but a lot of infrastructure inside the city," Haimour said.

Haimour added that according to reports he received, about two months ago IS fighters began moving their families out of Ramadi and toward the town of Hit northwest of Ramadi. That, he said is when he believes the tide began to turn against the IS group in the Anbar provincial capital.

A key factor that changed the sluggish pace of the battle for Ramadi, Haimour said, was a decision by the central government in Baghdad to arm Sunni tribal fighters from the Ramadi area to fight against IS.

"They didn't feel like they had enough support from the coalition and the central government, but all of that changed a few months ago," Haimour said. Now, there are 8,500 members from Anbar mobilized, trained, armed and receiving salaries.

While Iraqi forces were consolidating their gains, Warren, the coalition spokesman, said they also successfully repelled a number of IS counter-attacks Thursday with "significant" coalition air support.

In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said six airstrikes targeted IS units, boats and fighting positions near Ramadi on Wednesday. Over the past week coalition planes have launched 36 strikes near Ramadi.

But as the operation to retake the provincial capital progresses, Ramadi's sizeable civilian population -- estimated to be between 4,000 and 10,000 -- remains mostly trapped inside the city. Iraqi officials say they believe civilians will be able to flee the city, but coalition officials report that so far they have only witnessed small groups do so.

IS captured Ramadi in May and though the government immediately announced a counter-offensive, progress in retaking the Sunni heartland of Anbar has been slow. Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, pushed into Ramadi earlier this week, capturing a military complex north of the city and a neighbourhood on its outskirts.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Amid investigations and tensions, Trump and Putin going 1-on-1

    World News CBC News
    With rattled world capitals watching, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin are ready to go one-on-one in a summit that plays out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the investigation into Russian election meddling and fears that Moscow's aggression may go unpunished. Source
  • Over a billion people struggle to stay cool as Earth warms

    World News CBC News
    More than a billion people are at risk from a lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and to preserve food and medicines as global warming brings more high temperatures, a study showed on Monday. Source
  • Royal Family releases official photos of Prince Louis' christening

    World News CTV News
    Kensington Palace has released official photos to mark Prince Louis’ christening. The little prince was christened in a small service at the Royal Chapel in St. James’ Palace on July 9 with family members in attendance. Source
  • Some Ryanair passengers say they were bleeding from ears during sudden descent

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Passengers of budget airline Ryanair expressed anger Saturday over the way the company treated them following an unscheduled landing in Germany that forced dozens to seek hospital treatment. In interviews with German and Irish media, passengers described moments of terror as their plane -- flying from Dublin to Zadar, Croatia, late Friday -- descended suddenly, following what Ryanair said was a drop in cabin pressure. Source
  • Russian bots, 'troll factory' test waters ahead of U.S. midterms

    World News CBC News
    The sponsors of the Russian "troll factory" that meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign have launched a new American website ahead of the U.S. midterm election in November. Russian bots and trolls are deploying increasingly sophisticated, targeted tools. Source
  • U.S. police officer, bystander die from gunshot wounds

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- A Massachusetts police officer and bystander died Sunday from wounds sustained when a suspect allegedly took the officer's gun and fired following a vehicle crash and a foot chase. Weymouth officer Michael Chesna was shot multiple times by his own firearm around 7:30 a.m. Source
  • Tens of thousands flood Paris streets to celebrate France's World Cup win

    World News CBC News
    France fans did justice to the national team's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday, pouring into Paris' Champs-Elysées by the tens of thousands to celebrate with cheers, stomping and song in an explosion of joy. Source
  • France's win restores order to chaotic World Cup

    World News CBC News
    MOSCOW —? Ultimately, normalcy returned. The team that was supposed to win the World Cup, won. In a tournament populated by bizarre narratives, favourites France emerged victorious, offering their players and coach soccer immortality. RecapFrance defeats Croatia in World Cup final Russian punk band Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final Source
  • Thousands of France fans pour onto Montreal streets after 4-2 World Cup victory

    Canada News CBC News
    It may not be the Champs Elysées, but Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal was swarming with red, white and blue Sunday afternoon as France poured in the goals and, finally, won the World Cup 4-2. The France-Croatia game was played on giant screens at the park on Notre Dame Island, where the popular music festival Osheaga is held. Source
  • Ray Emery remembered by hockey community

    Canada News CBC News
    Former teammates, coaches and executives who played and worked with former NHL goaltender Ray Emery have been expressing condolences online following the 35-year-old's death on Sunday. Hamilton police say Emery drowned in Lake Ontario, adding that his death does not appear to be suspicious, calling it a "case of misadventure. Source