Under the cover of darkness, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a government compound in Ramadi with eight suicide car bombs. The attacking jihadis were clean shaven and dressed in Iraqi army uniforms using armored vehicles and armored bulldozers. The suicide attack destroyed the Anbar Operation Command.
The Iraqi military command sent out an order to not Abandon Anbar province to stand their ground and fight the ISIL militants.
Sheik Omar Shihan al-Alwani, one of the main Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar, advised his men to lay down weapons and leave the area. Al-Alwani did not want to lose all his men in fighting ISIL.
The battle for Ramadi did not go well for ISF and the Iraqi government. There were no Shia militias in the fight like there had been for the Battle of Tikrit. However, we now know from recent experience that the Iraq Army does not have the will to fight when battling hardcore terrorists. The ISIL militants are well armed, trained and are prepared to die for their cause. Leaders in Anbar did not want the Shia militias to join the ISF in the battle for Ramadi. Now that has changed as they are now calling for the Shia militias to come to Anbar and fight ISIL.
Shia militias were monitoring what was happening to ISF in Ramadi on local television and on numerous social media channels. The Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has endorsed and approve the Shia militias to help in Anbar. Reports are that the Shia militias are already on the ground on the outskirts of Ramadi.
A Live Leak video showed the Iraq Special Forces unit, Gold Brigade fleeing Ramadi leaving the city. The Iraq Special Forces unit fled on foot and in vehicles in their haste to vacate Ramadi. (ISIL) militant fighters by numerous media accounts had taken control of Ramadi.
Prime Minister on television saying they are crushing ISIS
In the late evening hours, as the Iraq Security Forces (ISF) were battling ISIL. The Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi held an emergency meeting with his military commanders. Later in the evening, the Prime Minister went on local television and told the Iraqi people that we will have victory in Ramadi. It was to keep people calm and maybe to support the war effort against ISIL. The fighting had escalated in Ramadi as ISIL had captured approximately 90% of the town. PM al-Haider wanted the local Anbar politicians to support the people in Anbar. The politicians were encouraged to be right there in the battle to show support for the Iraqi security forces and soldiers. As far as we can tell there were no politicians on the front lines and most likely never left Baghdad.
An interesting thing happened on the local Baghdad state-run TV at the bottom of the screen was a text that read “a counterattack by government forces in Ramadi is crushing ISIS.” We know now that there was no such thing as a counterattack from ISF.
While the fighting was going on, there were people fleeing the area grabbing whatever they could and left either walking or by vehicle. There were approximately 8,000 displaced persons leaving Anbar. The people left heading east to Baghdad and on to other locations.
After the battle of Ramadi and the dust had settled, there were 500 dead, and hundreds wounded. The losing Ramadi to ISIL is a big blow to the Iraqi army and government. ISIL recovered over 30 vehicles, weapons and ammunition, M1 Abrams tanks and artillery howitzers. The ISIL organization are keeping their costs low as they capture military equipment at every battle that they win in Iraq.
The U.S. military continues to support the Iraqi military with airstrikes in Anbar and conducted several airstrikes in Ramadi and Fallujah.
The Iraq Ministry of Defense YouTube channel shows a video of evacuating Iraqi soldiers from Ramadi. The soldiers are part of a Rapid Reaction Force.
Shia Militias preparing for counterattack at army base
Twenty miles east of Ramadi in a town called Habbaniya army base, 3,000 Shia militias are gathering to prepare for the counterattack on Ramadi against ISIL.
After the defeat in Anbar province, the Iraq cabinet ministers issued its support for the Iraqi Army, Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and clans (Militias).
The Below text is from Baghdad media.
1. Cabinet supports the call of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces for the full Liberation of Anbar province, with the participation of the Iraqi armed forces , volunteers of PMU and tribal fighters under the command of the General Command of the Iraqi forces.
2. Allowing volunteers to add new troops in the army, especially the military brigades that suffer from lack of sufficient number including the seventh brigade in western Anbar province and end the contracts of dropouts.
3. Emphasis on the readiness and training of the local police to be able to grab the land properly after liberating it.
4. Emphasize on the Iraqi government’s commitment to adapt and arm the tribal fighters in coordination with Anbar province.
5. Honoring fighters who have persevered in facing the terrorist attack and harsher penalties on those who didn’t do their duty that led to repercussions in Ramadi.
6. Prosecution the purveyors of false rumors who want to undermine the will of the citizens and combatants.
7. Council of Ministers confirms the continuation of supporting displaced people and provide them with the necessary supplies.
8. The Council of Ministers calls the international community , the international coalition and the regional neighboring countries to support Iraq in its war against terrorism by armament and support the stability and reconstruction of areas Fund destroyed by ISIS terrorist gangs .
When the fighting started on Friday residents of Ramadi and the Anbar province left the city and headed towards Baghdad. They thought Baghdad would be safe and would get help from the government. The Iraqi government is preventing the displaced people from Ramadi to enter Baghdad fearing that some of them could be ISIL. Thousands of people are stuck outside of Baghdad out in the open.