Iraq sends reinforcements to Ramadi, now largely held by Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | Posted - May 16, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.



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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has sent reinforcements to help its battered forces in Ramadi.

The city is now largely held by the Islamic State group after militants seized the main government compound yesterday.

Iraq's Joint Operations Command tells Iraqi state television that the U.S.-led coalition has been supporting Iraqi troops with what he describes as "painful" airstrikes against IS positions. An Iraqi general describes the situation on the ground as "positive" but offered no details about the ongoing battles. He's vowing that the Islamic State group will be pushed out of Ramadi "in the coming hours."

On Friday, the militants swept through Ramadi, capital of the western Anbar province. Their coordinated offensive included three near-simultaneous suicide car bombings. Local officials says dozens of security forces and civilians were killed, mainly the families of the troops. Ten police officers and 30 pro-government tribal fighters were among those killed.

%@AP Links

APPHOTO ZHM111: Displaced Iraqis from Ramadi rest before crossing the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

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APPHOTO ZHM102: Displaced Iraqis from Ramadi rest before crossing the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO ZHM102 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO ZHM105: Displaced Iraqis from Ramadi rest gather at the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO ZHM105 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO ZHM106: Iraqi security forces guard displaced Iraqis from Ramadi as they cross the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO ZHM106 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO ZHM109: Displaced Iraqis from Ramadi prepare to cross the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO ZHM109 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO ZHM115: Displaced Iraqis from Ramadi cross the Bzebiz bridge after spending the night walking towards Baghdad, as they flee their hometown, 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 16, 2015. Islamic State militants seized the center of Ramadi in western Iraq and raised their black flag over the government compound, local officials said. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO ZHM115 (05/16/15)££

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