Iraqi troops retake IS stronghold in Ramadi

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Iraqi forces have regained its control of a former government compound in Ramadi from where Islamic State (IS) group militants have been resisting an army offensive.

A government spokesman said that the complex was ‘under complete control’ and there was no sign of IS fighters.

The Iraqi government has been trying to retake Ramadi for weeks.

Reuters quoted the military spokesman, Sabah al-Numani as saying,”The complex is under our complete control, there is no presence whatsoever of [IS] fighters in the complex. By controlling the complex this means that they have been defeated in Ramadi. The next step is to clear pockets that could exist here or there in the city.”

The mainly Sunni Arab city, about 55 miles (90km) west of Baghdad, fell to IS in May, and was seen as an embarrassing defeat for the army.

Buoyed by this breakthrough, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi now says the army will move soon to retake the northern city of Mosul, which too had fallen to IS.

Al-Abadi said the recapturing Mosul from the IS will be his government’s biggest prize.

With the population of about 1.5m, Iraq’s second biggest city is also the largest centre under IS control since June 2014. The Iraqi military expects the battle for the strategic city of the Tigris River will be much longer

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