Iraqi forces retake key Ramadi complex from Islamic State

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi military forces on Monday retook a strategic government complex in the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants who have occupied the city since May, military officials said -- a symbolic victory that could help lift the morale of Iraq's beleaguered security forces as they battle to retake the rest of the city.

See Full Article

In a televised statement, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool initially announced that Ramadi had been "grabbed from the hateful claws" of the Islamic State group and "fully liberated."

But Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi, head of military operations in Anbar, quickly clarified that government forces had only retaken a strategic government complex and that parts of the city remained under IS control. IS fighters have retreated from about 70 per cent of city, but still control the rest; government forces still don't fully control many of the districts from which the IS fighters have retreated.

"The troops only entered the government complex," al-Mahlawi told The Associated Press. "We can't say that Ramadi is fully liberated. There are still neighbourhoods under their control and there are still resistance pockets."

Iraqi state TV showed troops, some waving Iraqi flags and others brandishing machine-guns, chanting and dancing inside what it described as the government complex. Some troops were seen slaughtering sheep in celebration near heavily damaged buildings.

The capital of Anbar province, Ramadi was one of the Iraqi cities under the full control of IS fighters. The city, and others in Anbar province, was the scene of fierce battles between U.S. military troops and the Islamic State group's predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, during the years following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman in Baghdad for the U.S. military told AP that "today's success is a proud moment for Iraq."

"The clearance of the government centre 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," Warren said.

He added that the U.S.-led coalition has provided steadfast support to the Iraqi government, conducting more than 630 airstrikes, training security forces, and providing both advice and specialized engineering equipment to clear bombs and booby traps.

"The coalition will continue to support the government of Iraq as they move forward to make Ramadi safe for civilians to return and as the military moves to fight ISIL in other areas of the country," he continued, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.

The Iraqi military launched a long-promised campaign to retake the city, located about 130 kilometres (80 miles) west of Baghdad, last week. Their progress had been hampered by snipers, booby traps and the destruction by IS militants of all bridges leading into Ramadi.

The extremists control large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq and in neighbouring Syria. The IS group has declared a self-styled caliphate on the territory it controls.

Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump era encouraging world dictators, human rights group says

    World News CTV News
    PARIS - Human Rights Watch says that new intolerance in countries like the United States is encouraging oppressive strongmen from Russia to China and Turkey. The advocacy group's annual report released Thursday says immigrant-bashing and other populist policies pose "an enormous threat" to hard-fought minority rights in democracies. Source
  • 52 people die in bus fire in Kazakhstan

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW - Emergency officials in Kazakhstan say 52 people have died when a bus carrying them caught fire. The Emergencies Ministry of the former Soviet nation in Central Asia said Thursday's tragedy happened in the northern Aktobe region. Source
  • Grandparents shocked by reports of 13 starved grandchildren

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - The grandparents of 13 starved and tortured children say their son's family looked happy and healthy when they last visited California six years ago. Betty and James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia say they were in shock when they learned of the arrest of their son David Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin this week. Source
  • Grandparents shocked by reports of 13 starved kids

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - The grandparents of 13 starved and tortured children say their son's family looked happy and healthy when they last visited California six years ago. "They were just like any ordinary family," said Betty Turpin, the 81-year-old mother of David Turpin. Source
  • Serbian police arrest three Australians over US$400M cocaine haul

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - Three Australians have been arrested in Serbia over the second-largest cocaine haul in Australian law enforcement history, police said on Thursday. Serbian police alleged the men arrested in a Belgrade hotel foyer on Wednesday "are linked to" the discovery of 1.28 metric tons (1.41 U.S. Source
  • Texas 'Tourniquet Killer' set to be first U.S. execution in 2018

    World News CTV News
    HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A man who became known as Houston's "Tourniquet Killer" because of his signature murder technique on four female victims is set to become the nation's first prisoner executed in 2018. Texas prison officials Thursday evening are scheduled to give 55-year-old Anthony Allen Shore lethal injection for the 1992 strangling of a 21-year-old woman whose body was dumped in the drive-thru of a Dairy Queen in Houston. Source
  • Exercise? I get more than people think, Trump says

    World News CBC News
    Do not expect U.S. President Donald Trump to hit the gym, despite his doctor's orders. He gets plenty of exercise on the golf course and at the White House complex, the president told Reuters on Wednesday. Source
  • Pope wraps up Chile stop with visit to migrants

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile - Pope Francis wraps up his Chile visit Thursday by meeting with members of the South American nation's booming immigrant community, who are flocking to the region's strongest and most stable economy but are increasingly the focus of political and social discontent. Source
  • Student dies at University of Ottawa residence, school president says

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The president of the University of Ottawa says a student has died at a school residence. But in a statement posted on the university website, Jacques Fremont did not identify the student nor a cause of death. Source
  • Unifor splits with Canadian Labour Congress over workers' right to choose union

    Canada News CTV News
    The largest private sector union in Canada said Wednesday it is splitting with the Canadian Labour Congress over issues which include disagreements about the rights of workers to choose what union should represent them. In a notice posted on its website, Unifor national president Jerry Dias and Quebec director Renaud Gagne said the congress has also been less than supportive of their concern about American-based unions "trampling on the rights" of workers. Source