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Britain congratulates Iraq on retaking IS-held city

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to rid the entire country of Daesh in 2016, shortly after government forces liberated the city of Ramadi from the militant group.

The TV did not elaborate on al-Abadi’s visit Tuesday to the Anbar provincial capital but an Iraqi commander, Brig.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the joint operations spokesmen said, “Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated”. Iraqi and US officials have said pockets of insurgents held up in the city and its outskirts still needed to be cleared.

Some Iraqi commanders have said that they expect Ramadi to be entirely back under their control by the end of the year, but large neighborhoods are yet to be secured.

The US-led anti-IS coalition praised the performance of the Iraqi forces in retaking Ramadi, an operation in which it played a significant role, training local forces, arming them and carrying out what it said were 600 airstrikes since July.

A number of successful strikes were also carried out near the city of Mosul and in support of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in close combat with IS fighters – also known as Daesh – in the north of the country.

The recapture of Ramadi “is a real accomplishment but the keeping and governing of Ramadi will be a much bigger one for Iraq”, said Patrick Skinner, an analyst with the Soufan Group risk intelligence consultancy.

Warren back then said that once the city is taken back, security will be assured by Sunni tribal fighters as well as the Anbar police – the local force that has been trained by Italian Carabinieri coalition partners.

In recent months Iraqi forces launched several offensives to retake Ramadi, but all had stalled.

Soldiers were shown on state television on Monday publicly slaughtering a sheep in an act of celebration. The city fell to ISIS in May in an embarrassing defeat for the Iraqi military.

Meanwhile, the United States on December 28 welcomed the Iraqi forces’ victory over ISIL in Ramadi.

Iraqi armed forces have retaken Ramadi city from Daesh, the Iraqi military announced Monday.

Troops finally captured the government compound on Sunday, flushing out or killing IS fighters and suicide bombers who had been holding out in its buildings.

Ramadi, about 80 miles west of Baghdad, and nearby Fallujah, which lies halfway on the road to Baghdad and remains under ISIL control, saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year US intervention in Iraq. It has declared a caliphate in the areas under its control, made Raqqa its de facto Syrian capital and imposed a harsh and violent interpretation of Islamic law.

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