Major defeat for Islamic State

Ramadi in Iraq, Institute of Study of War
Ramadi in Iraq, Institute of Study of War

Iraqi government forces have recaptured a key district in the city of Ramadi in Iraq which was controlled by the jihadist group Islamic State, IS, officials say.

The Counter-Terrorism Office said that the forces had cleared the south-western area of Tamim on Tuesday after a fierce battle.

Soldiers and militiamen have been preparing for months for an assault on Ramadi.

Ramadi was captured by IS in May and last month, government forces completed their encirclement of the city when they retook the Palestine Bridge.

The offensive cut off IS militants inside Ramadi, from their strongholds elsewhere in Anbar province and in Syria.

Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service spokesman Sabah al-Numani told the AFP news agency that after troops launched their assault on Tamim, IS militants “had no choice except to surrender or fight and they were completely destroyed”.

It is the first significant incursion into Ramadi since the army dropped leaflets over the centre last week warning residents to leave.

The US military last month estimated there were between 600 and 1,000 IS militants in Ramadi.

On Monday, the US-led coalition against IS said it had carried out six air strikes targeting the group’s units, weaponry and positions in the Ramadi area.