Islamic State crisis: Iraq will take back Ramadi ‘in days’ – PM Abadi

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The Iraqi city of Ramadi could be taken back from Islamic State (IS) militants “in days”, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has told the BBC. But he said more support was needed from international coalition partners. BBC was there:

Iraqi forces have suffered a number of defeats at the hands of IS over the past year, and fled from a smaller militant force in Ramadi last week. On Sunday, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said that the rout showed Iraqi troops lacked the will to fight.

Mr Carter told CNN that the Iraqis had chosen to withdraw despite the fact that they “vastly outnumbered” IS forces. Meanwhile, the leader of the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said the world faced an unprecedented danger from IS and other Sunni militant groups fighting in Syria.

Some observers say IS now controls 50% of Syria’s entire territory – as well as a third of Iraq. In a BBC interview, Mr Abadi said he was surprised at the US defence secretary’s comments. “[Mr Carter] was very supportive of Iraq and I am sure he was fed with the wrong information,” he said. The prime minister added that his forces were fazed by IS shock tactics.

“They have the will to fight but when they are faced with an onslaught by [IS] from nowhere… with armoured trucks packed with explosives, the effect of them is like a small nuclear bomb – it gives a very very bad effect on our forces,” he said.