Iraq Launches Ops to Drive IS Out 05/26 06:23
Iraq on Tuesday announced the launch of a military operation to drive the
Islamic State group out of the western Anbar province, where the extremists
captured the provincial capital, Ramadi, earlier this month.
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq on Tuesday announced the launch of a military operation
to drive the Islamic State group out of the western Anbar province, where the
extremists captured the provincial capital, Ramadi, earlier this month.
Iraqi state TV declared the start of the operation, in which troops will be
backed by Shiite and Sunni paramilitary forces, but did not provide further
A spokesman for Iraq's Shiite militias said the operation will "not last for
a long time" and that Iraqi forces have surrounded the provincial capital,
Ramadi, from three sides.
Ahmed al-Assadi, who is also a member of parliament, told reporters that new
weapons are being used in the battle "that will surprise the enemy."
The Islamic State group seized large parts of Anbar starting in early 2014
and captured Ramadi earlier this month. The fall of the city marked a major
defeat for Iraqi forces, which had been making steady progress against the
extremists over the past year with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes.
Security forces and Sunni militiamen who had been battling the extremists in
Ramadi for months collapsed as IS fighters overran the city. The militants
gained not only new territory 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, but
also large stocks of weapons abandoned by government forces as they fled.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Sunday that Iraqi forces had "vastly
outnumbered" the IS militants in Ramadi but "showed no will to fight."
Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said
the government was surprised by Carter's remarks, and that the defense
secretary "was likely given incorrect information."
Al-Abadi has called on Shiite militias to help Iraqi troops retake the Sunni
province. The militiamen have played a key role in clawing back territory from
the IS group elsewhere in Iraq, but rights groups accuse them of looting,
destroying property and carrying out revenge attacks. Militia leaders deny the