Iraqi forces launch offensive to free IS-held Ramadi

Baghdad, Dec 22 (IANS) Iraqi security forces on Tuesday launched a major offensive to complete the capture of Ramadi city from Islamic State (IS) militants.

The anti-terrorism troops, backed by Iraqi and the US-led coalition aircraft, began their advance from several directions into the central part of Ramadi, Xinhua cited the Joint Operations Command as saying.

On Saturday, Iraqi Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said “Iraqi forces are close to free Ramadi” and pledged that “during the next days, Iraqi forces will free the IS-held territories in the provinces of Anbar, as well as Salahudin and Nineveh.”

The latest offensive came as the security forces have recently made significant advance in Ta’mim district in Ramadi and in several areas on the edges of the city as part of their efforts to flush out IS militants from the city.

The troops have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Iraq’s largest province of Anbar from IS militants, who have seized most of the province and tried to advance towards Baghdad.

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