The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group has taken over the main government compound in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, and edged closer to what would be their biggest victory in Iraq this year, officials have said.
Hikmat Suleiman, the spokesman for Anbar’s governor, told Al Jazeera that the fighters managed to seize the heavily fortified complex on Friday mainly due to a lack of backing from the central Baghdad government.
“For months we were complaining and telling the Security Ministries that there was no coordination,” he said, adding that the military ignored requests for much needed weapons.
The government compound contained Anbar’s governor’s office, police headquarters and intelligence headquarters.
ISIL itself issued a statement in which it said its fighters “broke into the Safavid government complex in the centre of Ramadi”.
The operation “resulted in the control of it after killing the ‘murtadeen’ then blowing up the adjacent buildings of Anbar’s governorate and the Safavid Anbar police HQ.”
Safavid is a term used by ISIL in a derogatory way to refer to government forces and “murtadeen” designates Sunni tribal fighters battling alongside the government.