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Iraq tells civilians of ISIS-held Ramadi to leave

Message is a sign that an operation may soon be underway to retake the provincial capital

Published: Updated:

Iraq’s military command has told civilians in the ISIS-held Ramadi to leave the city, a sign that an operation may soon be underway to retake the provincial capital.

Monday’s statement, broadcast on Iraqi state TV, says the Ramadi families are requested to leave the city from its southern, Himaira area. No further instructions or details were given.

It’s unclear if the long-awaited operation to recapture Ramadi is imminent.

The U.S.-led alliance carried out seven airstrikes near Ramadi on Saturday, targeting ISIS fighters, key positions and weapons caches.

ISIS captured Ramadi in May, after government forces abandoned their posts. The provincial capital of Anbar province is located about 115 km west of Baghdad.

The extremist group controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria.