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Iraqi General: Army Expected to Drive ISIL out of Ramadi within Days

23 December 2015 17:21
Iraqi security forces cross a bridge built by corps of engineers over the Euphrates in Ramadi, December 22, 2015. Picture taken December 22, 2015.   REUTERS/Stringer

Iraqi security forces cross a bridge built by corps of engineers over the Euphrates in Ramadi, December 22, 2015. Picture taken December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Iraqi forces are expected to expel Takfiri militants out of the western Iraqi city of Ramadi within days, army chief of staff said.

“In the coming days will be announced the good news of the complete liberation of Ramadi,” Iraqia TV quoted Lt. General Othman al-Ghanemi as saying.Iraqi army

If Ramadi is captured, it will be the second major city after Tikrit to be retaken from ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) militants in Iraq.

Iraq’s armed forces began advancing on Tuesday on the last district held by the militants in the center of Ramadi, the city which lies on the river Euphrates some 100 km west of Baghdad.

Citing military statements, state TV said government forces have laid siege to the ISIL-held district of Ramadi, and killed hundreds of militants since Tuesday.

The operation started on Tuesday at dawn, when units crossed the Euphrates river into central districts using two bridges – one rebuilt by army engineers, and a second floating structure, an army spokesman said, describing fighting as “ferocious”.

There has been no major push into the center overnight, Reuters news agency quoted an officer on the ground as saying on condition of anonymity.

The fighting has been limited to skirmishes, sniper fire and exchanges of mortar rounds, he said. State TV cited the Anbar province military commander Major Gen. Ismail Shihab saying the army was proceeding cautiously so as to avoid civilian casualties.

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