IRAQ – The Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to Islamic State (IS) after government forces abandoned their positions, officials say.
The police and military made a chaotic retreat after days of intense fighting. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered troops to stand their ground, saying he was deploying Shia militia to the city.
Ramadi is the capital of Iraq’s largest province, Anbar, and is just 70 miles (112km) west of Baghdad.
A statement purportedly from IS said its fighters had “purged the entire city”. It said IS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.
A very well-placed source in the Anbar governor’s office told the BBC Ramadi was now under the full control of Islamic State, and all government troops had withdrawn.
An army officer told the BBC that most troops had retreated to a military base in the city of Khalidiya, east of Ramadi.
Government troops were running out of ammunition and could not repel the massive onslaughts by IS, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Footage posted on social media showed military vehicles speeding away from Ramadi, with soldiers hanging off the sides. (read more)
ANOTHER REPORT – […] Iraqi security forces abandoned their Anbar Operations Center in Ramadi overnight, leaving the city almost completely in ISIS control, according to the U.S. official, who has seen the latest intelligence reports from Ramadi.
Although there were a large number of Iraqi security forces occupying Ramadi, most troops fled after ISIS fighters began their assault on the city center Sunday, leaving behind Humvees and armored vehicles supplied by the U.S. military, a separate senior U.S. military official told Fox News.
“The Iraqi security forces were pushed out by a much smaller [ISIS] force,” the official said. (read more)