Iraq army enters last ISIL stronghold in Ramadi
Iraqi forces raise flag in centre of Hussaibah village, following weeks of fighting with ISIL, security sources say.
Iraqi security forces have entered the last remaining ISIL stronghold in the east of the central city of Ramadi, security sources said.
Security forces are now in the centre of Hussaibah village and moving to other parts of the strategic settlement, which links a major army base to other villages recently captured from the armed group, security sources told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
The Iraqi flag was raised in the centre of the village on Tuesday, the sources added.
ISIL fighters still have pockets of fighters to the north of the city and Iraqi officials are wary that they will continue to launch deadly counter attacks.
Iraq’s army is aiming to cut the supply route to ISIL’s stronghold in Fallujah.
READ MORE: Iraq: 80 percent of Ramadi in ruins after fighting
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said government forces are going from house to house clearing explosives left behind by the armed group.
“It is a huge success for the Iraqi security forces because they were seen as being the weak link in the fight against ISIL. But they have now taken control of the whole of Ramadi.” Khan said.
“But it has come at a very [large] cost for the army. Over the last two months official figures state at least 150 Iraqi soldiers were killed in this operation,” he added.
Iraq’s government announced in late December that its troops had recaptured Ramadi, but daily fighting with ISIL has continued for more than a month on the city’s eastern outskirts.
ISIL captured the city in May 2015 in an assault spearheaded by a wave of car and truck bombs.
The armed group still holds Fallujah, east of Ramadi, and Mosul, the country’s second city, which fell to ISIL in 2014.