Only one day after key ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf was killed by U.S. Special Operations troops (as previously reported in The Inquisitr,) the terror group has struck back with a decisive military victory, seizing the provincial Iraqi capital of Ramadi, according to ABC News.
Muhannad Haimor, a spokesman for the governor of Iraq’s Anbar province told the New York Times that “The city has fallen,” citing over 500 civilians and security personnel killed by ISIS over the last two days between fighting and executions. The last security forces fled the city earlier today, leaving the provincial military headquarters to be sacked by ISIS militants, who seized a large store of weapons and executed people loyal to the government in the wake of their victory.
An unidentified senior U.S. official shared his thoughts with ABC.
It is a terrible day. In some areas executions are being carried out by ISIS on captured Iraqi forces, Iraqi police and tribal fighters.
In the wake of the ISIS advance, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has authorized Shiite militias, the “Popular Mobilization Force” to enter Anbar (a Sunni-dominated province) and assist Iraqi and tribal militaries against ISIS.
Captain John Moore, a spokesman for U.S. Operation Inherent Resolve, told ABC that in his opinion the city remains “contested” and suggested that Iraqi forces were regrouping following the ISIS offensive. However, others, including Haimor, indicated that the Iraqi Forces are evacuating to Baghdad, many with their families.
Haimor indicated that ISIS was able to capture the Ramadi government compound, a building complex which housed critical services including police and the governor’s office – a complex which now lies in ruins thanks to ISIS.
This compound was the symbol of the city standing. Now it’s been taken over.
Ramadi’s fall, in spite of intensified bombing by American troops and reassurances that ISIS is on the defensive, represents the terrorist group’s largest military success so far this year and revealed the failure of the Iraqi government’s renewed offensive to retake Anbar province, announced last month. ISIS has declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, over the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.
Ramadi tribal leader Sheikh Rafi al-Fahdawi said that ISIS had shown no mercy, spared nobody.
Men, women, kids and fighters’ bodies are scattered on the ground. All security forces and tribal leaders have either retreated or been killed in battle. It is a big loss.
The Pentagon remains convinced that the situation in Ramadi is still contested. Expect to see U.S. and Iraqi forces pushing back against ISIS in the days to come.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]