Coalition says Iraqi forces repel militant attacks
» Islamic State militants continue to launch a series of counterattacks against Iraqi government forces on the edges of the western city of Ramadi days after the militant group was driven out of the city center, according to the U.S.-led coalition.
“The majority of these are outside downtown Ramadi to the north and east,” and so far Iraqi government forces have successfully repelled every attack, said Baghdad-based coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren. “We haven’t seen ISIL mass enough combat power to move Iraq off their positions,” Warren added, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.
Iraq’s military says Islamic State militants on Friday launched multiple suicide attacks on the outskirts of Ramadi.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Belawi told The Associated Press on Saturday that the militants struck security forces with seven suicide car bombs in two areas outside Ramadi.
Al-Belawi says there were casualties among the government troops, but did not provide a specific figure. He says the troops repelled the attacks and did not lose territory.
Iraqi officials say gains in Ramadi lay the groundwork for an eventual assault on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city that fell to the Islamic State in June 2014.
On Friday, coalition planes launched five airstrikes near Ramadi targeting Islamic State tactical units, heavy weaponry and fighting positions. Near Mosul, three airstrikes destroyed a militant fighting position and a facility used to make car bombs, a coalition statement said Saturday.
Ramadi, the provincial capi- tal of the sprawling Anbar province, fell to the militants in May, marking a major setback for U.S.-backed Iraqi forces. Iraqi troops retook the city center Monday with heavy coalition air support, but insurgents are still holed up in parts of the city.
Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters help guide trapped civilians to safer areas in Ramadi on Saturday. The Associated Press