Iraqi forces prepare for Ramadi final push

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Iraqi army officials say troops have pushed deeper into the last remaining area held by Islamic State fighters in Ramadi. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

Iraqi forces prepare for Ramadi final push

ROUGH CUT – NO REPORTER NARRATION

Iraqi troops have pushed deeper into the heart of the last remaining district held by Islamic State in the city of Ramadi, an army spokesman said on Saturday.

Recapturing Ramadi, which fell to the militants in May, would be one of the most important victories achieved by Iraq’s armed forces since Islamic State swept across a third of the country in 2014.

Soldiers advanced overnight in the Hoz neighborhood that houses the provincial government compound, the target of an attack that started on Tuesday, joint operations command spokesman Brigadier Yahya Rasool said.

He added that air strikes were helping to detonate explosive devices and booby-trapped houses, which was helping the military advance.

Information about the situation on the ground is hard to verify. There was no confirmation of a claim by Islamic State on Friday that it had shot down an army helicopter.

Ramadi is a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates River valley, just two hours drive west of Baghdad.

Most remaining civilians in the IS-held central district have taken shelter in the city’s hospital, knowing that the army will not target it, Rasool said.

He declined to give a time frame for the final onslaught to dislodge the militants.

Tags : Push, final, Ramadi, prepare, forces, iraqi

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