With the official Iraqi army defeated, Iraqi militias have gathered arms and advanced to Ramadi to counter the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), who recently captured the key town. The militias also hope to stop the terrorist group from entering Baghdad, which is only 70 miles to the west.
The fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, is a major setback for Iraq. Over 200 militants stormed into the city, which led to 500 deaths, “and more than 40,000 – a third of the population – have fled.”
Faleh al-Eissawi, deputy governor of Anbar province, told CNN the militias “repelled an ISIS attack on the town of Khalidiya and then launched their own offensive to the west Saturday, toward the town of Husbaya, which ISIS captured just a day earlier.” They also aim to keep Siddiqiya and Madiq, which are around Ramadi.
“They were killing anyone who they accused of being with the police or the army,” claimed one witness.
The militias consist of men “involved [in] local and federal police, the interior ministry’s rapid intervention force, regular army troops, Popular Mobilisation (Hashed al-Shaabi) paramilitary forces and tribal fighters.” An anonymous official told AFP the men have liberated the Husaybah police station.
Governor Suhaib al-Rawi said the militants used suicide attacks on security posts. A State Department official said Islamic State terrorists set off 30 suicide car bombs that took out “entire city blocks” and rivaled the deadly 1995 Oklahoma City terrorist attack. They also took control of all the main government buildings in the city. At least 50 Iraqi soldiers died during the fight.