Coali­tion says Iraqi forces re­pel mil­i­tant at­tacks

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Si­nan Sala­hed­din

» 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

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