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Ramadi ‘Fully Liberated’ from IS Militants

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is visiting Ramadi, a day after the city’s liberation from the Islamic State (IS) group. The spokesperson added that ISIS fighters still controlled 30 percent of Ramadi and the forces still do not control many districts from which the ISIS fighters have retreated at the current moment. The military spokesperson said that the insurgents are still dug into pockets of the city west of Baghdad.

Soldiers were shown on state television publicly slaughtering a sheep in an act of celebration.

The Iraqi flag flew high above the Government complex in Ramadi for the first time in 18 months.

“We are congratulating the Iraqi security forces for their significant progress in Ramadi“, said Army Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition-led against the Islamic State. “We will continue to stand with the Iraqi people until Daesh is defeated”. It is 400 km (250 miles) north of Baghdad and it has been selected by the government as the next target for Iraq’s armed forces after they won back the western city of Ramadi. That has allowed military forces a chance to prove that they can go it alone. Iraq’s leaders will need a political and military strategy for holding Ramadi permanently before they can move on to retake Mosul. That figure, following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, this fall, is well above the previous high of 61% who said they were dissatisfied in August 2007.

“Even with this success, the fight against ISIL is far from over”, the defense secretary said. “It’s their method of fighting”.

It has declared an Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control and imposed a harsh and violent interpretation of Islamic law.Ramadi and Fallujah, Sunni Arab cities where distrust of the Shiite-led government runs deep, were major bastions of the insurgency in the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

“In Ramadi, these efforts will be led by the Iraqi government and coordinated on the ground by Anbar Governor Sohaib al-Rawi and his team”, he said, adding that the U.S. and members of the Coalition have pledged or contributed over $50 million to the UNDP stabilisation fund to support these efforts.

Also targeted in the past few days were several militant sniper positions and locations used to launch rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire at troops, according to statements from the coalition.

After overrunning Ramadi, IS destroyed all the bridges around the city.

The former government headquarters in Ramadi was the epicentre of the fighting but Iraqi forces did not rush in when IS pulled out because the entire area was rigged.

US President Barack Obama, vacationing in Hawaii with his family, received an update on Monday on the Iraqi forces’ progress in Ramadi, the White House said. Since then, intensive retraining of the Iraqi Army by USA advisors has begun to pay dividends, aided by the replacement of incompetent officers who deserted their troops in May.

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