Iraqi forces storm Ramadi centre, predict victory within days

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By Euronews
Iraqi forces storm Ramadi centre, predict victory within days

Iraqi armed forces stormed the centre of Ramadi Tuesday as their bid to dislodge Islamic State militants continues.

Some 300 militants remain in their city centre stronghold but an army spokesperson said the battle would be won within a matter of days.

The militants, who are also known as ISIL, overran Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, in May. Just 100 kilometers west of Baghdad, Iraqi forces began the offensive to retake the city in November.

But progress has been slow as the government was reluctant to use Shi’ite militia in the predominantly Sunni Anbar province in case it would fan sectarian tensions.

Tuesday’s operation began at dawn when Iraqi troops crossed the Euphrates river into Ramadi’s central districts. They faced snipers and suicide bombers as their made the crossing but were supported by US-led airstrikes.

If the attack to capture Ramadi succeeds, it will be the second major Iraqi city after Tikrit to be retaken from ISIL. The city of Mosul remains under the control of the militants.