Following a series of suicide attacks, "Islamic State" militants have raised their flag over the central Iraqi city of Ramadi. Government troops have reportedly withdrawn from the area.
With the fall of the main government building, IS managed to gain nearly full control over the city on Friday. The Islamist organisation has also raised its flag over the city's police headquarters.
Three suicide car bombings killed 10 policemen in Ramadi, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) west of Iraqi capital Baghdad. The nearly synchronized attack targeted an Iraqi government compound, resulting in the take-over of the building.
Local government forces had been battling against the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" ("IS") militants in the region for weeks, since IS military forces had seized control of the city's outskirts in April.
In addition to the casualties, the coordinated attack had also managed to wound at least seven and damage part of the Anbar police headquarters building, according to police. Dozens of people were also forced to escape their homes in the area.
"Families are trying to flee on foot, leaving their cars and homes behind, but most areas around Ramadi are under IS control," said Sheikh Jabbar Adjadj al-Assafi, a tribal leader. Another tribal leader was also reportedly killed.
The police have appealed to the central government in Baghdad to send reinforcements.
Ramadi has witnessed a great deal of tension since the onset of the U.S.-led war in Iraq in 2003. Originally a key stronghold of the insurgency during the war, it is now under risk of falling to the hands of IS. Iraqi forces have previously found victims.
Other attacks were reported near the town of Jubbah about 180 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Baghdad, which Iraqi security sources have now confirmed to have fallen to the jihadist movement. The town is located near the large airbase of Al-Asad, where several hundred US advisers are stationed.
Iraq as a whole has seen rapid deterioration in its security after IS seized large swaths of the country's west and north in 2014.
ss/kms (AP, AFP)