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Security forces continue fighting IS in Iraq's Anbar
Iraqi security forces on Saturday continued fighting the Islamic State (IS), clearing new areas in the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's western province of Anbar, security sources said.
The troops and allied Sunni tribal fighters retook control of the districts of Thaylah, Jamhoriyah and the areas surrounding Dolfin Square and Albu Farraj Bridge in central Ramadi, after clearing them from roadside bombs, booby-trapped vehicles and buildings, Sabah al-Nu'man, spokesman of Iraq's anti-terrorism force told Xinhua.
"The troops and explosive experts have defused all the bombs, and today we have downtown Ramadi and surrounding districts completely cleared and safe," al-Nu'man said.
He said that the extremist militants are no longer in a position of fighting back, as many of them either withdrew to rural areas outside Ramadi or redeployed in the eastern part of the city after the main battle last week.
On Monday, the Iraqi Joint Operation Command officially declared victory a day after the Iraqi forces raised the Iraqi flag on the provincial government complex of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, but Anbar's provincial capital has not yet been fully secured.
Separately, the U.S.-led coalition aircraft carried out an air strike on a convoy of IS vehicles in Tarrah area in northern Ramadi, destroying nine vehicles and killing at least 17 IS militants and leaving some 20 others wounded, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, heavy clashes erupted between the troops and IS militants in Tarrah area, leaving five security members killed and eight others injured, the source said without giving further details about the casualties among IS militants.
Also in Ramadi, a booby-trapped house detonated during a search operation, killing four security members and wounding six others, the source said.
Elsewhere in the province, international warplanes bombarded abandoned warehouses near the town of Haditha, some 200 km west of Baghdad, after intelligence reports said that many IS militants were hiding in the warehouses, the source said.
The airstrike destroyed the warehouses and left six IS militants killed and three of their vehicles burned, the source added.
The troops have been fighting for months to retake control of key cities and towns in Iraq's largest province of Anbar from the IS militants, who have seized most of Anbar and tried to advance towards Baghdad.
[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 02Jan16]
War in Afghanistan & Iraq
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