By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
IRAQ (ANS – Dec. 14, 2015) – Islamic State militants have reportedly launched several counter-attacks in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, which government forces are trying to recapture.
A security source told the BBC that at least 35 soldiers and allied Sunni tribesmen were killed in a series of suicide car bomb attacks.
A senior IS leader was also said to have been killed east of the city.
“Government forces have encircled Ramadi and are preparing for a final assault on the city, which IS overran in May,” said the BBC.
“Last week, troops retook the key western district of Tamim, which is only separated from the city center by a tributary of the Euphrates, and the headquarters of the Iraqi military’s Anbar Operations Command.”
On Monday, a senior source in the Anbar Operations Command said IS militants launched a wave of attacks across Ramadi as they tried to regain areas recently recaptured by government forces.
The BBC went on to say that five suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives at government positions, including those in the northern district of Albu Farraj, killing more than 20 soldiers and tribesmen, the source added.
At least 15 militants were subsequently killed in a gun battle, before Iraqi and US-led air strikes forced the rest of the attackers to retreat.
A sixth suicide car bomb attack, in south-western Ramadi, killed another 15 soldiers and tribesmen, the source said.
Iraqi media also reported that an IS leader in charge of setting up car bombs had been killed along with four of his aides in a military operation in the Jazirat al-Khalidiya area, 12 miles (20km) east of Ramadi.
Security sources identified the militant as Ibrahim al-Halabi, a Syrian national.
“The US military believes there are between 600 and 1,000 IS militants in Ramadi,” added the BBC.
“It says they have developed a strong defensive system in and around the city, including using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to create minefields.”
Photo captions: 1) An Iraqi army source said it was a matter of days before other central districts were retaken. 2) Former IS arms depot in Ramadi – the group is believed to have developed a strong defensive system in and around the city (AFP), Dan Wooding reporting from outside the Kurdistan Parliament in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California. He has reported widely across the Middle East for ANS including from Northern Iraq.
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