Iraqi army declares victory over Islamic State in Ramadi

After weeks of pitched fighting for control of Ramadi, government forces say they have retaken the city’s central administration complex from Islamic State, declaring a victory over the militants in Anbar’s provincial capital. Mana Rabiee reports.

(Reuters) – It was a hard battle — but Iraq’s army says it’s finally defeated Islamic State fighters in Ramadi.

Government forces had encircled this provincial capital west of Baghdad for weeks and last week they made a final push to seize the central administration complex.

A spokesman for the Iraqi force leading the charge says the next step it to clear pockets of IS resistance that may still exist… but that government control of the complex effectively means a victory over IS in Ramadi.

The militants captured the city in mainly Sunni-Muslim Anbar province in May.

The army’s apparent defeat of IS deprives the militants of their biggest prize of 2015.

It’s also the first major victory for the U.S.-trained Iraqi force in some 18 months … when it simply collapsed in the face of the Islamic State assault.