Terrorists, Booby-Trapped Houses in Ramadi to Delay Civilians’ Return

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -

About 700 Islamic State terrorists are suspected to be hiding in the center and eastern outskirts of Ramadi days after Iraqi forces claimed victory over the terrorists in the western city, the U.S.-led coalition said on Wednesday.

Much of the center of the Anbar provincial capital still needs to be cleared of explosives laid by the jihadist terrorists who seized the city in May, delaying the return of tens of thousands of civilians who fled to Baghdad and other parts of the country, the coalition said.

The Iraqi army retook Ramadi on Sunday in its first big victory against the hard-line Sunni Islamists who swept through a third of Iraq in 2014, after months of cautious advances backed by coalition air strikes.

“Within what we call central Ramadi [we] estimate [that there are] still up to 400 Daesh [Islamic State] members, and then once you go east of that towards Falluja you’ve got about 300 out there in that direction,” U.S. Army Captain Chance McCraw, a military intelligence officer with the U.S.-led coalition, told reporters in Baghdad.