Ramadi liberated, but booby trapped

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/02/11/ramadi-liberated-but-booby-trapped/

(CNSNews.com) — Iraqi Security Forces now have full control of the city of Ramadi and its outskirts, but “there’s still thousands, if not tens of thousands, of booby traps, IEDs, (and) houses rigged to blow,” Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters on Wednesday.

“We’ve see refrigerators with bombs in them. We’ve seen this enemy actually rig Qurans to blow, if touched.”

Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said ISIL used a “scorched earth” style as they pulled out of Ramadi, “and they left the place really in ruins.”

Iraqi Security Forces are now going carefully and systematically from house to house to make the city safe for the tens of thousands of civilians who fled when Islamic terrorists captured Ramadi last May.

Warren said another complicating factor is the “harassing attacks” in Ramadi by small teams of terrorists.

“And they have a very simple goal. What they want to do is tie up Iraqi Security Forces as long as possible, right? So they’ll send in some sort of harassing attack, whether it’s one person wearing a suicide vest, or somebody driving a truck bomb or a car bomb, or just a two-man team with an RPG and an AK — just to slow down the process, to slow down the Iraqi Security Force’s ability to make Ramadi safe.

And they want to do that, because they want to keep the ISF in Ramadi as long as possible to prevent the ISF from then moving their focus into Hit upstream or Fallujah downstream.”

ISIL still controls the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Mosul, although the terrorists have not gained any more territory in months, Warren said, adding that the fight will continue:

“Yes, they still have some capability. Yes, they’ve still got a little fight left in them. But we have pummeled them. They have been struck from the air; their finances have been devastated through our Da’esh-cash strikes; their capability to fight has been crippled; their ability to move has been largely restricted.

“And this is a combination of devastating air power from this coalition and an increasingly competent Iraqi security force.

“So this fight’s not over yet. We’ve still got some fighting left to do. But understand this. This enemy is on its heels. They’re in a defensive crouch right now. We are seeing examples of executions conducted by ISIL leadership over their own people for throwing down their weapons and running away from a fight; for giving up in places like Baji, Sinjar and Ramadi.

“And so that’s showing that the egg is beginning to crack a little bit more; and eventually we’re going to see nothing but yolk on the ground.”

Iraqi and coalition officials estimate that rebuilding Ramadi could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the Associated Press reported.

— Written by Susan Jones