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Iraqi Forces in Final Push to Regain Ramadi from IS

A member of Iraq's counter-terrorism forces monitors his surrounding in a street in Ramadi's Dhubbat neighberhood, adjacent to Hoz neighbourhood, Dec. 25, 2015.

Iraqi forces say they making their final push to take back a government complex from Islamic State militants in the city of Ramadi, which fell to the militants seven months ago.

Recapturing the complex would tip the balance in Ramadi, once again giving the army control of the key city, which is the capital of Anbar province. But the neighborhood surrounding the complex is dotted with landmines.

An Iraqi military spokesman said that soldiers have used airstrikes to detonate some of the explosives and help them gain ground. He said they are now closing in on the government complex.

Iraqi military officials say IS terrorists are trying to slow the Iraqi advance by using suicide bombers, booby traps and snipers, plus civilians as human shields. It is not clear how many civilians are left in the area. The spokesman said most residents have taken shelter in a nearby hospital.

Iraq's military said earlier in the week that government forces expect to be in control of the city in a few days. This is the most significant incursion into Ramadi by Iraqi forces since the city fell to IS terrorists in May.

Coalition warplanes have been targeting Ramadi for several weeks with dozens of airstrikes, including targets on the outer edges of the city on Tuesday.

The loss of Ramadi in May was a major setback for the Iraqi government and the army. The effort to retake the city located 100 kilometers west of the capital, Baghdad, has taken months, with fighting on the outskirts and work to cut off militant supply lines running into Ramadi.