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Al-Qaeda-linked fighters push into Iraqi city

Tribesmen and police join forces as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters capture new areas of Ramadi.

Last updated: 03 Jan 2014 21:40
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Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have advanced into new areas of Iraq's Ramadi city and have managed to hold part of Fallujah despite efforts from the country's army and tribesmen to regain control.

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which operates in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria, forced their way into areas of central Ramadi early on Friday amid clashes with the military forces, a police captain said.

ISIL deployed snipers on one street in Ramadi, two of whom were killed by the Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service later in the day, according to a report by Iraqiya state television.

The report also said the government forces "burned four vehicles carrying terrorists" in Ramadi and quoted the Anbar Operations Command as saying that 10 "terrorists" had been killed in the city.

Joint efforts

There were also claims that armed tribesmen joined forces with the army to fight the ISIL fighters in Ramadi.

Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, a senior leader of the Sahwa armed group, told the AFP news agency Iraqi security forces and allied tribesmen killed 62 ISIL fighters in Ramadi on Friday, including 16 men in Khaldiyah outskirt and 46 more inside the city itself.

Another senior officer, a police lieutenant colonel, said soldiers deployed around Fallujah, were yet to enter the city.

Parts of Ramadi and Fallujah have been held by armed men for days, a return to the years immediately after the 2003 US-led invasion when both cities in Anbar province were rebel strongholds.

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