US: Situation in Ramadi 'contested' after ISIS claims takeover

2015-05-18 09:23
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Washington - The Pentagon said on Sunday the situation in Ramadi, which ISIS militants claim to have seized from Iraqi forces, remains "fluid and contested" and it is following reports of continued violence in the strategic city.

"We're continuing to monitor reports of tough fighting in Ramadi and the situation remains fluid and contested," Pentagon spokesperson Maureen Schumann told AFP in a statement.

"It is too early to make definitive statements about the situation on the ground there at this time," she added.

The Islamic State group said earlier on Sunday it had taken full control of the Iraqi city after a bloody assault, in a statement posted on jihadist internet forums.

After the claim, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered government forces to "hold their positions" in Ramadi, capital of Iraq's largest province of Anbar.

He called on troops, tribesmen and other elite forces to push the Islamic State militants out of the city.

The loss of Ramadi, about 100km west of the capital, could be one of Baghdad's worst setbacks since it began a nationwide offensive last year to reclaim territory taken over by IS jihadists in June 2014.

Two days of violence in Ramadi has displaced at least 8 000 people, according to the International Organization for Migration.

A local spokesperson said some 500 people, both civilians and military, have were killed in the jihadist offensive.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  us  |  security

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