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

  • CBC News takes home 44 awards at 2017 RTDNA

    Canada News CBC News
    ?CBC News journalists scooped up 44 awards on Saturday at the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) awards, honouring national and regional work in TV, web and radio. "All these awards recognize our excellence on all platforms," said CBC News editor in chief Jennifer McGuire, noting the CBC took home the lion's share of the 75 awards. Source
  • Family, friends hail the 2 men who died trying to stop attack

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Helpful co-workers. Reliable friends. Well-liked by many who encountered them. Those were the descriptions family, friends and colleagues gave of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, the two men who were stabbed to death Friday when they tried to intervene when a man yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train. Source
  • 'Cowboys and Indians'-themed party prompts anger at Alberta high school

    Canada News CTV News
    Students at an Alberta high school are being accused of racism and cultural insensitivity after a “Cowboys and Indians”-themed graduation party was held off campus. Images of students from Chinook High School in Lethbridge, Alta. Source
  • Bangladesh reinstalls Lady Justice statue that irked Islamists

    World News CTV News
    DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A sculptor says authorities in Bangladesh have reinstalled a Lady Justice statue near the country's Supreme Court, two days after its removal following complaints by Islamist hard-liners. Sculptor Mrinal Haque said Sunday workers put the statue back in place a few hundred metres from its original location. Source
  • Andrew Scheer sells conservatism with a smile

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    <p>That big grin. It's the first thing everyone notices about newly elected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.</p> <p>It'll be what the regular voter first sees when Scheer goes to bat one on one against Justin Trudeau in the polls. Source
  • Scheer new Conservative Party leader

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The final votes will be cast today for a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Some 259,000 people are eligible to vote, deciding between 13 candidates running the gamut from former cabinet ministers to one who has never held public office. Source
  • CTV's W5, local stations win RTDNA awards

    Canada News CTV News
    CTV’s investigative program W5 has won three awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. W5 won the Dave Rogers Award for Best Long Feature for Network Television for “In Their Footsteps.” The episode features Sandie Rinaldo as she follows a group of Canadian high school students, chaperones, and Holocaust survivors on their emotional tour of Nazi concentration camps in Poland. Source
  • CTV News wins 'best newscast' at RTDNA awards

    Canada News CTV News
    CTV News has been named Best Television Newscast by the Radio Television Digital News Association and CTV’s investigative program W5 has picked up three RTDNA awards. CTV National News, anchored by Lisa LaFlamme, won the Bert Cannings Award for Best Television Newscast at the annual RTDNA awards gala, held Saturday in Toronto. Source
  • Hot air balloon crashes in Alberta just after man proposes marriage

    Canada News CTV News
    A man’s wedding proposal on a hot air balloon didn’t go exactly as planned but his girlfriend still said yes -- and both are excited to have an “awesome” story to tell. Christine Peters says she had wanted to go for a ride in a hot air balloon ever since she was a little girl. Source
  • Andrew Scheer: a profile

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - When Andrew Scheer first started telling people he was considering a run for the leadership of the federal Conservatives, he’d often get a raised eyebrow in response. Scheer served four years as Speaker of the House of Commons, following several years of serving as deputy Speaker. Source