In a statement posted online Sunday, militant group Daesh claimed to have taken full control of the Iraqi city Ramadi, reported AFP.
The announcement comes after days of bloody clashes Anbar province’s capital city, located west of Baghdad.
Daesh launched their assault on Ramadi late Thursday, detonating car bombs and eventually occupying the city’s main government headquarters Friday.
The attack spurred a major retreat of Iraqi forces from Ramadi, despite support from US-led airstrikes. A video posted online showed government military vehicles racing out of the city, some soldiers apparently wounded, reported AP.
“Ramadi has fallen,” stated Muhannad Haimor, spokesman for Anbar province’s governor, according to AP. “The city was completely taken.”
Violence in Ramadi since Thursday compelled thousands of locals to flee, leaving nearly 8,000 displaced. Thousands reportedly wait along the Euphrates river, barred from entering Baghdad province to the east.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday ordered Shiite militias from Iraq’s Popular Mobilization force to combat Daesh militants in Anbar province following the massive retreat by security forces. The Shiite force has played an important role in driving out Daesh from occupied areas.
Daesh’s capture of Ramadi represents its biggest victory since in took control of Nineveh province’s Mosul in June 2014.
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