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IRAQI ARMY CLAIM KEY VICTORY OVER ISIL IN RAMADI


Iraqi forces say they have taken over a key government complex in Ramadi, in Anbar province, after driving out fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. 

Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting on Sunday from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, quoted sources as saying that Iraqi authorities now control at least 60 percent of Ramadi, although ISIL fighters were putting up fierce resistance, planting roadside bombs and deploying suicide bombers.

Ramadi fell to ISIL in May, an embarrassing setback to the Iraqi forces. Analysts say recapturing the provincial capital, which is just 100km west of Baghdad, could deprive ISIL of their biggest prize of 2015. “By controlling the complex this means that we have defeated them in Ramadi,” said Sabah al-Numani, a spokesman for government forces.

“The next step is to clear pockets that could exist here or there in the city.” Mark Kimmitt, a former US assistant secretary of political and military affairs, said recapturing Ramadi was just a small part of defeating ISIL “The Iraqi army has improved, but to take Ramadi is going to take thousands and thousands of soldiers and one question is whether those soldiers are ready at this point,” he told Al Jazeera.