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Iraq launches military operation to retake Ramadi from ISIS

Days after Iraqi troops had to bite the dust as the Islamic State romped its way to Ramadi, a military operation was announced on Tuesday with the objective of taking back the territories captured by the extremists in Anbar province.

According to a news report on Iraq State TV, the country’s troops will be accompanied by Shiite and Sunni paramilitary forces as they take on the Islamic State men in Anbar, a news agency said.

In the biggest gain for the extremists and the strongest blow to the US-led strategy, the ISIS on May 17 took over Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

In what brought back the humiliating memories of last summer, the ISIS assault on May 17 forced the Iraqi troops to flee from the scene leaving behind weapons and ammunition and vehicles.

In the aftermath of the fall of Ramadi to the ISIS, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued a harsh criticism of Iraqi troops, saying thy lacked the will to fight the ISIS.

US Def Secretary Ash Carter in an exclusive interview to the CNN’s “State of the Union” show said that Iraqi troops, despite being more in number, lacked the will to fight the ISIS and hence abandoned the city of Ramadi.

Surprised at Carter’s remarks,  Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi said that his troops did have the will to fight but were fazed by the Islamic State’s attacks, the effect of which he likened to that of a “small nuclear bomb”.

Speaking to the BBC, Iraqi PM Abadi assured that his forces would retake the ISIS-captured city of Ramadi in few days, but added that more support was needed from international coalition partners.

In an apparent softening of tone, the US praised “the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces” and assured full support to them to combat the ISIS.

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