Ramadi, the capital city of the largest Iraqi province, Anbar, has fallen into the hands of the Islamic State. ISIS flags can be seen on the government buildings, after violent clashed with the security forces, which tried desperately to prevent this to happen.
Strategically, Ramadi was crucial to be defended by the Iraqi government. The ISIS continuous offensive on the Anbar capital lasted for months. The city is a key supply route to Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Syria, and the militants have seized it overnight. Also, this makes it impossible for the government to send any kind of troops reinforcement.
ISIS militants have warned the city population not to flee, but in the past months over 130,000 Iraqis have abandoned the city. The breakthrough into the Ramadi center, where the Anbar province government building is located, was made using six suicide car bombs. The government forces have retreated and the ISIS militants have announced the take-over victory through loudspeakers.
Heavily equipped, the ISIS militants have also used an armored bulldozer to eliminate the walls blocking their way to the government compound, and a Humvee full with explosives have reached its target, the education department in the same government building. A third car bomb exploded afterwards.
The Ramadi fall to the Islamic State is a major setback to the Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi. Now the ISIS controls important regions in the country and undermines the military efforts made so far to retake the strongholds already in the ISIS hands.
By Lucky Graziano
Voice of America News – Islamic State Raises Flag Over Ramadi
Photo Courtesy of Thierry Ehrmann by Flickr page – Creative Commons License