Iraq Premier Orders Aid For Islamic State Fight

An Islamic State group fighter loads a mortar shell during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Iraqi soldiers backed by Sunni fighters launched a major operation Saturday to retake a section of the city of Ramadi seized by Islamic State group militants, an official and residents said. (AP Photo)

An Islamic State group fighter loads a mortar shell during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Iraqi soldiers backed by Sunni fighters launched a major operation Saturday to retake a section of the city of Ramadi seized by Islamic State group militants, an official and residents said. (AP Photo)

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered more aerial support and weapons for fighters battling the Islamic State militant group in Anbar province as a curfew took effect Sunday in the provincial capital, Ramadi, amid intense clashes.

Al-Abadi called for the additional support after a meeting late Saturday with delegates from the Anbar Provincial Council. The air power and weapons are intended both for Iraq’s embattled armed forces and Sunni tribes supporting the anti-Islamic State fight in Anbar, a statement released by his office said.

The Islamic State group has seized a number of cities and towns across Anbar province, including Fallujah. Iraqi soldiers backed by Sunni tribal fighters engaged in intense clashes Sunday to retake Ramadi’s eastern Sijariya neighborhood, which the extremist group said it captured Friday. Authorities in the city implemented a 24-hour curfew Sunday, restricting civilian movement as Iraqi armed forces and tribesmen fought to regain territory there.

The U.S. and Iraqi governments have been working to woo Sunni tribesmen to support the fight against the Islamic State group, proposing the establishment of a national guard program that will include arming and paying loyal tribesmen. But militants with the Sunni extremist group are looking to thwart those efforts, targeting tribesmen who try to challenge their authority.

On Friday, the militants lined up and shot several men from the al-Bu Fahd tribe, which is taking part in the fight against them. They also have killed more than 200 men, women and children from Anbar’s Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe in recent weeks, apparently in revenge for the tribe’s siding with Iraqi security forces and, in the past, with U.S. forces.

Meanwhile, Iraqi and Kurdish forces pushed to retake towns seized by the Islamic State group in the eastern Diyala province. Jabar Yawer, a spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga, said Sunday that intense clashes continued in the towns of Saadiya and Jalula, which fell to the militant group in August.

BY VIVIAN SALAMA – Nov 23, 4:56 AM ESTAP

 
 

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