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World

Iraq declares Ramadi liberated from Islamic State

December 28, 2015 5:03 pm

The Iraqi city of Ramadi has been “liberated” from so-called Islamic State, the Iraqi military has declared.

Spokesman Brig Gen Yahya Rasul said forces had achieved an “epic” victory. TV pictures showed troops raising the Iraqi flag over the government complex.

Some reports indicate there are still pockets of resistance in the city.

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The BBC’s Thomas Fessy, in Ramadi, says the week-long battle against IS has destroyed the urban landscape.

Ramadi’s recapture marks a major reversal for the jihadist group. They seized it in May, in an embarrassing defeat for the army.

Iraqi government forces have been fighting to retake it for weeks.

State television showed pictures of soldiers in Ramadi firing their guns in the air and publicly slaughtering a sheep in celebration

Troops managed to capture the government compound on Sunday, flushing out or killing IS fighters and suicide bombers who had been holding out in its buildings.

Brig Gen Majid al-Fatlawi of the army’s 8th division told AFP that IS fighters had "planted more than 300 explosive devices on the roads and in the buildings of the government complex

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the capture of Ramadi in a TV address.

“2016 will be the year of the big and final victory, when Daesh’s [IS’s] presence in Iraq will be terminated,” he said.

“We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh,” he added, in a reference to the largest city under IS control in northern Iraq.

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