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Iraqi forces announce liberation of Ramadi from 'Islamic State'

Iraq says it has pushed back "IS" and recaptured the city of Ramadi. If true, the defeat would be a key victory for Iraqi forces seeking to wrench control of parts of the country from the terrorist group.

Iraq's military forces hoisted their national flag over the city of Ramadi on Monday, as officials announced troops had beaten back the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist organization, which had held the city since May.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool went on state television to say the city had been liberated, following the capture of a government compound in the middle of the city, which was the center of the fighting between Iraqi and IS forces.

Earlier on Monday, a military spokesman said IS's retreat from the compound marked the end of the fighting. "By controlling the complex this means that they have been defeated in Ramadi," Sabah al-Numani said.

A major victory

The retaking of Ramadi is seen as a major win for the Iraqi government, which has been fighting the IS insurgents that have taken over large swathes of the country, as well as parts of Syria. The loss of Ramadi also puts a dent in the terrorist organization's state structure.

Shortly after the government's announcement, however, there were some contradictory statements from other members of the military, with one general saying IS had only been pushed back in the city, not completely defeated.

Iraqi officials said they are continuing to sweep the outskirts of the city for IS fighters, who reportedly numbered around 400 when Baghdad launched its campaign to retake Ramadi last week.

blc/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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