Free Press Journal

IS militants capture government compound in Iraqi city

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Baghdad: Islamic State (IS) militants on Friday took control of the government compound in the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, after fierce clashes with security forces, a provincial security source told Xinhua news agency. The militants carried out a major attack during the day on the government compound in the centre of the city, which includes the buildings of the provincial government and the police headquarters, after the troops and allied Sunni militias withdrew from their positions, the source said.

The extremist militants started their attack with eight suicide car bombings and used armoured shovel trucks to enter the heavily fortified compound of the city which is located some 110 km west of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, the source said.  Heavy clashes were still under way inside the compound as groups of security personnel were still resisting the militants, who were believed to have captured a number of security personnel and government-backed tribal fighters and executed them, the source added.  The IS militants launched a series of attacks in Ramadi since Thursday night and managed to seize the districts of Jamiyah and Albu Alwan in the city, leaving more than 20 security personnel dead and some 50 others wounded, he said.

Meanwhile, the source said that the militants also gained ground near the IS-held town of Garma, just east of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, as well as taking control of Jubba area near the town of Haditha, some 200 km northwest of Baghdad.  Last month, the IS militants who previously gained ground in the northern and eastern parts of Ramadi, threatened a number of times to seize the provincial government compound.  The IS group has seized most of Iraq’s largest province of Anbar and tried to advance toward Baghdad, but several counter-attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.  The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since last June, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS militants.