Iraqi forces in firefight with IS in Ramadi

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Iraqi forces engaged in a fierce gunbattle with Islamic State (IS) fighters in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, in the heart of the country, on Monday (

Iraqi forces in firefight with IS in Ramadi

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)

Iraqi forces engaged in a fierce gunbattle with Islamic State (IS) fighters in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, in the heart of the country, on Monday (April 20).

Much of the fighting was around a hospital that had been taken by IS 10 days ago after the group attacked the town.

IS had also taken control of areas to the north and east and leading local officials had warned the city was about to fall.

Not much was left of the hospital when the Iraqi soldier re-captured it.

The United Nations said on Sunday (April 19) that more than 90,000 people have fled their homes in Anbar since April 8, when Islamic State militants began gaining ground around Ramadi, about 90 km (55 miles) from Baghdad.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced at the start of April that Anbar would be the next battleground after Islamic State militants were routed in the city of Tikrit to the north.

But the new campaign to reclaim the vast desert terrain had hardly got underway when the militants attacked Ramadi. Since then reinforcements have reached Ramadi and the militants’ advance appears to have been halted.

The latest migration compounds an intensifying humanitarian crisis in Iraq, where 2.7 million people have been displaced within the country since January 2014.

Aid agencies expect hundreds of thousands more to be uprooted if Iraqi forces move to take on the insurgents in their remaining strongholds of Anbar and Nineveh in the north.

Anbaris account for at least 30 percent of those displaced within the country since the beginning of last year — the second highest level for any single governorate, according to data from the International Organization for Migration.

Tags : Ramadi, with, firefight, forces, iraqi

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