ISIS kills hundreds in major attack on Iraqi city

By @snksounak on
Iraqi security forces and pro-government Sunni tribal fighters help trapped civilians to cross from neighborhoods under control of Islamic State group to neighborhoods under control of Iraqi security forces in Ramadi city,Iraq January 4, 2016. Picture taken January 4, 2016. Reuters/Stringer

The Islamic State has launched a major attack in Haditha and killed hundreds in three days.

ISIS’ assault in the Iraqi city came around a week after the government forces regained control of Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province. The Iraqi government’s victory in Ramadi is considered one of the most significant advancements for the military since 2014.

According to Al Jazeera, Haditha plays a key role in the conflict between ISIS and the Iraqi government forces because of the strategic location of the city.

"Haditha serves as a significant transportation route between the western regions of Anbar, the central province of Salahuddin, and northern governorate of Nineveh,” Al Jazeera's Iraq editor Hamed Hadeed said. “It is also the only city in the Anbar province that has been able to block ISIL's repeated attempts to control it.”

According to Hadeed, one of the ultimate ambitions for the extremist group is to avenge the tribal forces. At least 25 Iraqi fighters died in the ISIS offensive. "We have given 25 martyrs in 72 hours," tribal commander Sheikh Abdallah Atallah told AFP.

Haditha is also known for its resistance against ISIS as the militant group did not manage to capture the strategic city so far. Two major tribes in the city have been fighting against ISIS. Albu Nimr, one of the major tribes, claimed dozens of tribal fighters and government security forces were either killed or injured in the assault.

Naeem Alqoad, a member of the tribal group, claimed tribal-led forces managed to kill at least 250 ISIS fighters. More than a hundred cars belonging to the extremist group were also destroyed, he added.

According to Alqoad, the US-led coalition is “ineffective and weak” in its air strikes. He said ISIS managed to continue the assault as it seized weapons from military installations in locations around Haditha.

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