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Iraq Imposes Curfew On Ramadi To Stem Militant Advance


A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen through the smoke on top of a house in the Syrian town of Kobani on October 17.

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen through the smoke on top of a house in the Syrian town of Kobani on October 17.

Iraqi authorities have imposed a curfew on the western city of Ramadi in an effort to slow the advance of fighters from the Islamic State militant group.

Sabah Karhout, the chairman of the Anbar provincial council, said on October 17 the curfew started at midnight in the provincial capital as part of an effort to limit movement in and out of the city.

The militants have advanced on Ramadi in recent weeks despite U.S.-led coalition air strikes.

The decision to impose the curfew came after Iraq's intelligence service received information the militants intended to target security forces and civilians in Ramadi.

Ramadi is about 100 kilometers west of Baghdad.

There has been fierce fighting in the mainly Sunni Anbar Province since the start of this year.

Military operations were also under way near Tikrit, in Salahuddin province north of Bahgdad, to retake ground from IS fighters.

Iraqi officials said the operation was receiving significant aerial support from coalition forces.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East has said Iraqi forces are “incrementally” recapturing ground from IS.

General Lloyd Austin told Journalists in Virginia on October 17 that as the result of U.S. strikes against IS targets, the militants are "afraid to assemble command groups for fear of being struck by us."

But he added that major advances by Iraqi forces will take time.

Austin also said the United States is focusing its strikes on the Syrian border town of Kobani because the IS offensive there offers a large number of targets.

He said there had been "encouraging" signs in recent days in the battle over the town on Kobani, but he acknowledged it was still "highly possible" the town, on the border with Turkey, could fall to the militants.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa
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