Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

Updated: Nov 23, 2014, 10:19 IST | Agencies |

The clash that focused on Ramadi’s eastern province, which the extremist group had captured on Friday, had both sides firing mortars  

Baghdad: Iraqi soldiers backed by Sunni fighters launched a major operation to retake a section of the city of Ramadi seized by Islamic State group militants on Saturday, an official and residents said.

The fighting focused on Ramadi’s eastern Sijariya neighborhood, which the extremist group said it captured on Friday. An official with the Anbar provincial council, on condition of anonymity, described intense fighting on Saturday morning that included both sides firing mortars.

Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen fire at Islamic State group positions during an operation outside Amirli, Baghdad. file photo

Eyewitnesses, also speaking on condition of anonymity, corroborated his account.

The Islamic State group has been trying to seize Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, for months now. Sunni militants, including the group’s fighters, seized parts of it last January.

The Anbar official also said Islamic State fighters lined up and shot several men on Friday from the al-Bu Fahd tribe, which is taking part in the fight against the militant group.

Islamic State group fighters have killed more than 200 men, women and children from Anbar’s Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe in recent weeks, apparently in revenge for the tribe’s siding with Iraqi security forces.

Earlier this month, an American advisory mission visited Anbar’s al-Asad air base, searching for potential training locations for fighters battling the Islamic State group, which holds a third of both Iraq and Syria in its self-proclaimed caliphate. The move is part of a US plan to train Iraqi forces and Sunni tribesmen, reminiscent of the Sunni Awakening movement that confronted al-Qaeda in Iraq starting in 2006.

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