Update: Iraqi Army Bugs Out Of Ramadi
BAGHDAD—Islamic State on Sunday seized control of the western city of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s largest province, after military officials ordered security forces in the city to retreat.
The fall of Ramadi to Islamic State is the extremist group’s biggest success this year, and a major blow to a government campaign to push the militants out of Anbar province.
As hundreds of security forces and tribal fighters fled Ramadi, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made the controversial decision to call in the country’s largely Shiite paramilitary force into the Sunni province.
Taha Abdul Ghani, a member of Anbar’s provincial council, said the withdrawal order to troops in Ramadi was made to prevent mass casualties. “Ramadi, by military standards, has completely fallen to Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Ramadi’s fall came after a bloody day in which Islamic State pressed an offensive there it began late Thursday. The three-day offensive has sent hundreds of policemen fleeing, leaving their weapons and vehicles for the militants. Hundreds of security forces, tribal fighters, and civilians have also been killed in the attacks, local officials say.
Photo: Iraqi security forces withdrawing from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, on Sunday. As the city fell to the Islamic State, militants from the group carried out executions of people loyal to the government. Credit Uncredited/Associated Press