Iraqi Forces Warn Residents of Ramadi to Evacuate Within 72 Hours

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
Iraqi security forces take combat positions on the front line with Islamic State group militants in Ramadi, capital of Iraq's Anbar province, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. Following significant advances on the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi Tuesday, Iraqi forces are now preparing to push into the city center from the southwest and the north. Tuesday’s advances, the most significant incursion into Ramadi since the city fell to the Islamic State group in May, have placed Iraqi forces along the southwest edge of Ramadi in the Tamim neighborhood and just north of the city at the former Anbar operations command. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)
Iraqi security forces take combat positions on the front line with Islamic State terrorists in Ramadi, Anbar province, 70 miles west of Baghdad, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)

Iraqi military planes dropped leaflets on Sunday on Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, warning local residents to evacuate the western city within 72 hours, state media reported, citing a military statement.

Ramadi is under the control of Islamic State terrorists and Iraqi intelligence estimates the number of terrorists who are entrenched in the center of the city at 250 to 300.

The report gave no further details, however, an army officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “It is an indication that a major military operation to retake the city center will start soon.”

Last week Iraqi security forces said they had made advances on two fronts in Ramadi, clearing Islamic State terrorists from a key military command base and the sprawling neighborhood of al-Taamim on the western rim of the city.