By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
RAMADI, IRAQ (ANS – Jan. 2, 2016) – The BBC is reporting that fighters from the so-called Islamic State (IS) have continued to pursue counterattacks on the edges of Ramadi a week after the city was recaptured by Iraqi troops.
Most of the attacks were outside central Ramadi to the north and east, spokesman for the US-led coalition, Col Steve Warren, told the AFP news agency.
He said Iraqi government forces had so far successfully repelled every attack.
On Friday the group attacked a military base near the city.
The BBC said that the Iraqi government said a week ago that it had “liberated” Ramadi from IS. The jihadist group, also known as ISIS, had held the city since May.
Col Warren said they had not yet seen IS “mass enough combat power to move Iraq off their positions.”
The BBC’s Thomas Fessy, who has just returned from Ramadi, says a tough fight continues in the city and government forces have been taking casualties.
“The national flag is back in most of the city, but on the frontline we saw the black IS banner flying – defiant – less than a hundred meters away from the Iraqis,” he added.
A military spokesman said Friday’s attack on a military base was carried out by suicide car bombers and fighters wearing explosive belts.
The army fought back with the help of air strikes by the US-led coalition.
The attack is the biggest launched by IS against Iraqi forces since Ramadi’s recapture.
The BBC World Service Middle East analyst Sebastian Usher says the assault shows the scale of the task confronting Iraqi government forces – as troops are faced with an unknown number of IS fighters still holding out on the outskirts.
Over the weekend Iraqi troops and allied Sunni tribal fighters helped civilians to safer places in Ramadi.
Their homes were crushed in the fighting and many had been hiding in the rubble for days, the BBC correspondent says.
Photo captions: 1) The US-led coalition carried out more than 600 air strikes in the area since July (Reuters). 2) Several families have been rescued by Iraqi forces as they walked out of their homes to seek help. 3) Thousands of migrants are waiting at Turkey’s border with Greece to find out what their future will hold. 4) Dan Wooding reporting for ANS from outside the Kurdistan Parliament in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, 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 more than 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, and has reported widely for ANS from all over the Middle East, including from Northern Iraq.
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