Iraqi forces on Monday launched a new offensive on the ground to try to retake the province of Al-Anbar jihadist group Islamic State (EI), with the support of the coalition led by Washington, who led a record number of air strikes .
The Iraqi army and police units popular mobilization (Hachd al-Chaabi, militias mainly Shiite) and the Sunni tribesmen have “launched the liberation operations”, announced at dawn command of the army.
These forces, which advanced towards Fallujah and Ramadi, the two main cities of the province controlled by the IE, resumed two villages Albu Chijel and Chiha, the jihadist group, said a security official.
A local official, Ibrahim al-Fahdaoui, confirmed the release of two villages near the Euphrates between Ramadi and Fallujah.
The EI controls most of Al-Anbar, a vast region west of Baghdad and Syria border where the Sunni extremist organization also controls large swathes of territory.
A unit commander Sunni tribal fighters of al-Chaabi Hachd also indicated that the Al-Sijer was resumed Monday insulation just over Fallujah.
29 coalition raids
These last twenty-four hours the antidjihadistes international coalition had prepared the ground for the new offensive, conducting 29 raids against positions of ARs near Ramadi, capital of Anbar.
These strikes were “referred to the IU 67 assembly areas,” including destroying a vehicle and an armored troop transport, the coalition said in a statement.
The number of strikes is particularly high for a single day and a single sector.
in the fight in Iraq against the Islamic state group
The area around Fallujah and Ramadi were seen fighting in months between EI and government forces.
In May, they had lost the last areas under their control in Ramadi, leaving the EI its second Iraqi provincial capital Mosul after there is more than one year.
The fall of Ramadi had been the biggest setback for the pro-government forces since the fall of large parts of Iraq in the hands of the extremist organization, thanks to his meteoric offensive launched in June 2014.
Shortly after the loss of Ramadi, the authorities had announced an operation to reclaim the city and province. They finally called to the rescue Shiite militias backed by Iran and had hitherto kept out of the fighting in Al-Anbar, a predominantly Sunni province for fear of sectarian tensions.
However, senior commanders have said the offensive to retake Fallujah would not take place before the Eid al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of Ramadan on July 17.
To help him in his fight against the EI group, Iraq took delivery Monday of four US combat aircraft F-16, the first of a total of 36 to be delivered to him, announced the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The four aircraft arrived at the air base in Balad, about 70km north of Baghdad.
The UN says at least 15,000 civilians have been killed and about 30,000 wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the war against the jihadists of IE in 2014.
The coalition led in turn over 5200 air raids since the launch of its campaign against the Sunni extremist group in August 2014.