Iraq forces closes in on ISIL-seized Ramadi
Iran Press TV
Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:9PM
Iraqi government forces and volunteer fighters have made fresh gains in their battle against ISIL militants in the western province of Anbar, purging terrorists near the flashpoint city of Ramadi, Press TV reports.
A spokesman for the Iraqi volunteer forces said Thursday that major government installations in central parts of Anbar have been recaptured; noting that allied forces are tightening the noose on militants in the provincial capital Ramadi, which is located 110 kilometers west of the capital Baghdad.
"Good news will surface from Anbar in near future," said Karim al-Nouri of the Popular Mobilization Units, adding, "The villages of al-Hamdhiya, al-Harariyat, al-Saqlaweyah, Japanese Bridge, and Olympic stadium are under control of joint Iraqi forces."
Over the past 10 days, Iraqi forces have made significant gains against ISIL, which controls Ramadi and other areas in western and northern Iraq. Ramadi fell into the hands of the militants in May when Iraqi forces were concentrating on recapturing cities and districts north of the country.
Other Iraqi sources said troops are very close to Fallujjah, another strategic town in Anbar. A report earlier in the day said scores of ISIL militants were killed after government forces destroyed a booby-trapped car outside Fallujah.
Nouri also said that popular forces have managed to clear almost 80 percent of Iraq's largest oil-refinery in Baiji, about 170 kilometers north of Baghdad, adding that fighting still continues with government forces trying to push back the militants from al-Seyneyah and Albu-Jrad districts.
Also in the east, seven people were reportedly killed in fighting in Arab Jabar and Nahr Al-Bustan, two villages southwest of the Diyala Province. Clashes also continued around Bani Saad, another major battlefield south of the provincial capital Baaqouba.
Meanwhile, bomb attacks were reported in Baghdad, where three people were killed and 13 other were injured in two blasts in the west and north of the city. The attacks came one day after massive bombings claimed by ISIL ripped through Baghdad, killing more than 50 and injuring tens of others.
The developments came against the backdrop of a surprise visit by US Defense Minister Ashton Carter who has arrived in Baghdad purportedly to discuss ways of boosting Iraqi army's ongoing operation in Anbar. The visit, the first since Carter took office in February, would see the Pentagon chief met with top Iraqi officials as well as influential leaders of the Iraqi tribes in Anbar.
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