US hits back in Ramadi | News | Al Jazeera

US hits back in Ramadi

US and Iraqi troops have entered Ramadi a day after anti-US fighters staged a show of force in the western city.

    The US military denied that fighters had taken over Ramadi

    Operation Shank, involving 300 American Marines and 200 Iraqi soldiers, began on Friday, the latest in a series of operations in Anbar province, the heartland of anti-US fighting.

     

    A US military statement said: "The purpose of the operation is to disrupt a terrorist

    group that utilises an area of Ramadi as its base for attacks on local Ramadi citizens, Iraqi and US military."

     

    Fighters launched a brief assault in Ramadi on Thursday, firing mortar rounds and rockets at a US base and local government buildings.

     

    Leaflets were distributed saying that al-Qaida in Iraq, the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was taking control of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar.

     

    Relative calm

     

    But after a couple of hours, most of the fighters dispersed and the city appeared to return to relative calm.

     

    The US military said reports of fighters taking control of the town were "completely unsubstantiated".

     

    Town residents said there was no sign of the fighters on the streets on Friday.

     

    Many moved to Ramadi after US forces crushed their base in nearby Falluja in November last year.

     

    US and Iraqi forces launched a new operation in an area west of Ramadi on Wednesday, sending more than 2000 soldiers and marines into Hit and surrounding towns to track down fighters and try to restore security ahead of polls.

     

    Falluja deaths

     

    The US Marine Corps also announced on Friday that 10 marines were killed on Thursday by a roadside bomb near Falluja, 50km west of Baghdad. The announcement said a further 11 marines had been wounded in what was one of the deadliest attacks on American soldiers in recent months.

     

    A statement said the men were from Regimental Combat Team 8, of the 2nd Marine Division. While on foot patrol, they were hit by an improvised explosive device made from several large artillery shells, the army said.

     

    Seven of the wounded have returned to duty. The names of those killed were withheld pending notification of their relatives.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    How has the international arms trade exacerbated conflict in the Middle East? People and Power investigates.

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.