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Iraqi forces take control over last ISIS stronghold in Ramadi

Iraqi government forces have seized the government complex in the center of Ramadi – the last Islamic State stronghold in the western city, a military spokesman told Reuters.
 “By controlling the complex this means that they [Islamic State] have been defeated in Ramadi,” Sabah al-Numani, a spokesman for the Iraqi counter-terrorism units leading the fight, told the news agency.Al-Numani stressed the complex is under full control of the Iraqi forces with “no presence whatsoever of Daesh [ISIS] fighters” adding that some terrorists could still be hiding in “pockets that could exist here or there in the city.”

According to al-Numan, a major clearing effort is still needed to allow Iraqi troops to move freely around the city as IS terrorists had filled the area with bombs and booby-traps. The necessity of a clear-up operation prevented the Iraqi government and the military from declaring a victory immediately, although some people in a number of cities were already celebrating, AFP reports.

Iraqi forces advanced to the provincial government compound in Ramadi overnight and encircled the terrorists in the complex earlier on Sunday.

The Ramadi offensive has been supported by airstrikes from the US-led coalition, but Iran-backed Shiite militias were barred from the operation by the government, in order to avoid sectarian violence in the mainly Sunni Anbar province.

Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province, was seized by IS terrorists in May after about a week of fighting with the governmental forces.

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