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IS jihadists pull out of town in Iraq’s Anbar


isis-fightersThe Islamic State group on Sunday pulled its fighters out of Rutba, a desert town in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, an army general and the mayor said.

“Daesh (IS) has completely pulled out of Rutba and gone towards Al-Qaim,” a major general told AFP, referring to a jihadist bastion on the border with Syria, further north in Anbar.

“Daesh’s armed men started pulling out last night and completed their withdrawal this morning,” the senior officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Rutba is now free of Daesh.”

The mayor of the town, which lies about 390 kilometres (245 miles) west of Baghdad on the road to Jordan, confirmed that IS had withdrawn.

“Daesh has pulled out. They have no armed men there now,” Imad Ahmed said.

“This withdrawal looks real, a consequence of their losses in Anbar, notably the retaking by the security forces of Ramadi, of areas east of Ramadi and the progress towards Hit,” he said.

After launching a final push against IS in the provincial capital Ramadi late last year, Iraq’s security forces established full control over the city last month.

They have since been securing areas east of Ramadi, further isolating the jihadist stronghold of Fallujah, which lies only 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.

The security forces are also currently working their way up the Euphrates, west of Ramadi, with a view to retaking the town of Hit.

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