Local authorities in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, say that Iraqi forces have managed to push back what was the "fiercest and most violent" attack yet from Islamic State (IS) militants.
Anbar provincial council Chairman Sabah al-Karhout told the Sumaria TV news outlet on November 26 that Iraqi security forces had repelled the IS attack on Ramadi’s main government compound and that IS had sustained heavy losses.
Other outlets reported that Iraqi security forces, supported by tribal forces and air strikes, had managed to repel the assault against the government compound.
Karhout also said that Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi had pledged on November 26 to send more support to Ramadi to help repel IS militants.
Karhout told Shafaq News that Anbar needed "land support by one regiment or two regiments on an urgent basis" to support forces already in Ramadi and repel more attacks by Islamic State gunmen in the city center.
Islamic State gunmen penetrated to the very center of Ramadi on November 25 and were within meters of reaching the main government compound.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Iraq reported on the evening of November 25 that Islamic State militants had seized Ramadi’s Education Directorate and were “less than 20 meters away from the government complex that includes the Anbar Council seat and other government departments, including the prison and the province’s intelligence branch directorates.”
As Islamic State militants pushed closer to the Ramadi government compound, the Anbar provincial council issued a plea on November 25 to government security forces and the Iraqi Air Force, warning that Islamic State gunmen would overrun the city within 24 hours unless government forces intervened, the RFE/RL correspondent said.
A Baghdad security official in direct contact with the Anbar operations command told the McClatchy news agency on November 25 that the Ramadi government complex had “been nearly cut off” and that IS militants had cut off roads to the Iraqi Army’s 8th Division in the west and the Habaniyya air base in the east.
Also on November 25, Islamic State released new photographs showing the fighting in Ramadi. The photographs showed the group using captured M113 armored personnel carriers and firing rocket-propelled grenades at Iraqi forces, according to the Long War Journal.
The deputy governor of Anbar Province, Faleh al-Issawi, told CNN on November 24 that coalition air strikes were key to helping Iraqi forces retake Ramadi.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk