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Fierce Fighting Continues Over Ramadi, Scores of Iraqis Killed in Attacks and Air Strikes in Various Cities

December 23, 2015 


Ramadi residential neighborhoods devastated by government forces bombardment, December 23, 2015

Iraqi government soldiers in the destroyed streets city of Ramadi, December 23, 2015


Fierce fighting continues over Ramadi

 NHK, Dec. 22, 2015 - Updated 19:25 UTC-5

Iraqi government forces and the Islamic State group are engaged in fierce fighting over the militants' stronghold of Ramadi.

The government forces launched an all-out offensive on Tuesday to fully recapture the capital of Anbar Province.

Iraq's state-run television reports that the troops entered the center of the city by crossing the Euphrates River and its tributaries. The US-led coalition is carrying out air strikes to support the offensive.

State-run TV also says that the troops killed about 30 militants, but lost about 10 personnel in suicide car attacks.

Ramadi is located along the main route linking the Syrian border with Baghdad.

The militants captured the city in May, but government forces retook wide areas, except for the city center, this month.

The insurgents are reportedly holed up using residents as human shields. Regaining full control of Ramadi is expected to take time.

A spokesperson for the US-led military coalition spoke to reporters on Tuesday.

Colonel Steve Warren said hundreds of Islamic State fighters remain in the dense urban terrain in the center of Ramadi where many booby traps have been set. He said it will take some time to recapture the city.


Islamic State conflict: Iraqi forces push into Ramadi -

BBC News, December 23, 2015

Iraqi (government) forces are attempting to move further into the centre of Ramadi, on the second day of an assault to drive Islamic State militants from the city.

Security officials say troops and Sunni tribal fighters have taken control of several districts and are advancing towards the main government complex.

The army's chief-of-staff expects the up to 300 militants inside the city centre to be dislodged within days.

Ramadi, a predominantly Sunni Arab city about 90km (55 miles) west of Baghdad, was captured by IS in May in an embarrassing defeat for the army.

Retaking it would be a "huge moral and strategic boost" for the Iraqi security forces, former national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told the BBC.

'Difficult battle'

(Government) forces launched the assault on central Ramadi at dawn on Tuesday, with the support of soldiers, police, Sunni tribesmen opposed to IS, and US-led coalition air strikes.

By the afternoon, government forces had retaken the al-Thubat and al-Aramil districts, and entered nearby al-Malaab and Bakir, security sources told the BBC.

Floating bridges built over River Euphrates, which flows along the north and west of the city centre, also enabled troops to enter directly the al-Haouz district, near the government complex.

On Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the governor of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, told the BBC that most of the IS militants who were in Ramadi before the government began the operation to retake the city in November had fled or been killed.

"We think there are no more than 300 foreign fighters from Daesh still fighting, probably the suicide bombers. But overall, we think we are very close to liberating the city," Muhannad Haimour said, using a pejorative term for IS based on the acronym of its previous name in Arabic.

"It's a very, very difficult battle, especially with so many booby-traps, explosives and sniper fire against the security forces and tribal fighters."

The operation to recapture Ramadi, which began in early November, has made slow progress, mainly because the government has chosen not to use the powerful Shia-dominated paramilitary force that helped it regain the northern city of Tikrit to avoid increasing sectarian tensions.

IS has lost control of several key towns in Iraq to government and Kurdish forces since over-running large swathes of the country's west and north in June 2014 and proclaiming the creation of a "caliphate" that also extended into neighbouring Syria.


Wave of attacks kills at least 15 civilians across Iraq .

Associated Press Dec. 23, 2015, at 8:08 a.m. + More

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press


A wave of attacks across Iraq killed at least 15 civilians on Wednesday as government forces pressed on with their offensive to dislodge Islamic State militants from a major city west of Baghdad, officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In the Shiite-majority town of Khalis, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the Iraqi capital, two explosives-laden cars were detonated. The first car was parked inside a bus station and that explosion killed three and wounded 10, a police officer said.

The second car bomb exploded at the town's outdoor grocery market, killing four civilians and wounding eight.

In and around Baghdad, five bombs went off in commercial areas, killing eight civilians and wounding 35, two police officers said. Three medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

The attacks came a day after Iraqi security forces reported progress in recapturing some areas in the western city of Ramadi, 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Baghdad, from the Islamic State (fighters) who control large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq and in neighboring Syria. The IS group has declared a self-styled caliphate on the territory under its control.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi security forces' advance was slowed by snipers, roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, told The Associated Press. Rasool said some of the families that were trapped in Ramadi had managed to flee the city and reached safe areas.

In May, the Iraqi government suffered a major blow when IS militants took over Ramadi, the capital of sprawling western Anbar province and Iraq's Sunni heartland. It was the government's biggest defeat since IS swept through areas in the country's north and west, including Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul, in the summer of 2014.

On Tuesday, Iraqi forces pushed into the Dubbat and Aramil neighborhoods, about 3 kilometers (less than 2 miles) from the city center, said Gen. Ismail al-Mahallawi, the head of operations in Anbar province. The Iraqi air force and the U.S.-led international coalition were providing air support to troops on ground and bombing IS targets, he said.

Hours after Iraqi government announced the gains, Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, said there were 250 to 350 Islamic State fighters in Ramadi, as well as several hundred outside the city on the northern and western perimeter.

"I think the fall of Ramadi is inevitable," Warren told Pentagon reporters, cautioning that it will take some time. "It's going to be a tough fight."

Since overrunning Ramadi, the Islamic State group has destroyed all the bridges around the city. It also demolished the Anbar operations command and fanned out into the city's residential areas to set up less conspicuous centers of command.


Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report from Baghdad.


Scores of Iraqi civilians, soldiers, and fighters killed in attacks and air strikes in various cities


الثلاثاء : 22/12/2015

* بغداد :

*قتل وأصيب"41" شخصا؛ بتفجير"5" عبوات ناسفة, الأولى قرب الحي الصناعي في منطقة النهروان جنوب شرقي بغداد, والثانية في منطقة البكرية غربي بغداد, والثالثة قرب محال تجارية في منطقة الشعلة، والرابعة في حي العامل جنوب غربي بغداد, والخامسة قرب مطعم شعبي في منطقة الشيخ عمر وسط بغداد. من جانب أخر قتل وأصيب"4" أشخاص من القوات الحكومية أحدهم؛ بتفجير عبوة لاصقة استهدف سيارة  أحد أفراد فوج حماية وزارة العدل الحكومية بمنطقة البلديات، والآخرون بنيران قناص استهدف نقطة تفتيش لهم في منطقة الدورة جنوب بغداد.

من جهة أخرى قام مسلحون مجهولون بسرقة مبلغ 52 مليون دينار من صاحب مكتب صيرفة عند خروجه من منزله بمنطقة العامرية غرب بغداد.

* الأنبار :

* قتل وأصيب"37" شخصا بينهم نساء وأطفال؛ بقصف مدفعي من قبل الجيش الحكومي وميليشيات الحشد على الأحياء السكنية في مدينة الفلوجة, وبقصف جوي استهدف المدنيين في جزيرة الخالدية شمال شرق الرمادي.

من جانب آخر قتل وأصيب أكثر من"29" شخصا من الجيش الحكومي وميليشيات الحشد؛ بتفجير عدد من العبوات الناسفة شمال الفلوجة, وبتفجير سيارة مفخخة استهدفهم شمال الرمادي.

* نينوى :

* قتل وأصيب العشرات بينهم نساء وأطفال؛ بقصف للتحالف الدولي استهدف مجمعا طبيا في حي 17 تموز غربي الموصل.

هذا وقد قصفت طائرات التحالف الدولي مناطق في الجانب الأيسر من الموصل، دون معرفة المزيد من التفاصيل.



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