BAGHDAD, Dec 26, (Agencies): The Iraqi army said Saturday it recaptured Ramadi Barrage while evacuating 120 families from inside the city to safe places outside. Iraqi army forces are in control of the Ramadi Barrage and surrounding areas in the north of Ramadi, the joint operations command said in a statement. The forces also captured a road leading from Albu Farraj bridge to the Euphurates River, it added.
Meanwhile, the government troops evacuated 120 Iraqi families who were trapped in conflict zones in Ramadi. The families were taken to the tourism city in Habbaniya, east of Anbar, and are being taken care of by by the army and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Iraqi troops have pushed deeper into the heart of the last remaining district held by Islamic State in the city of Ramadi, despite being slowed by bombs and booby traps, army spokesmen said on Saturday. Recapturing Ramadi, which fell to the militants in May, would be one of the most important victories achieved by Iraq’s armed forces since Islamic State swept across a third of the country in 2014.
Soldiers advanced overnight in the Hoz neighbourhood that houses the provincial government compound, the target of an attack that started on Tuesday, joint operations command spokesman Brigadier Yahya Rasool said. “The counter-terrorism forces are within 800 metres (0.5 mile) from the government complex,” advancing by about 1 km in the past day, Rasool said. “Air strikes helped detonate explosive devices and booby-trapped houses, facilitating our advance,” he added. Special operation commander Sami al-Aridhi said the plan was “to liberate all of Ramadi from three sides”. “Our troops are now advancing towards their targets but were delayed because the criminals have boobytrapped everything,” he said.