IS counterattack on Rutbah forces partial Iraqi withdrawal

IS counterattack on Rutbah forces partial Iraqi withdrawal
Iraqi forces were forced to withdraw from parts of the western city of Rutbah on Monday after intense clashes with the Islamic State, local sources told The New Arab.
2 min read
24 October, 2016
Iraqi forces launched an operation against the militants in Mosul last week [Getty]
Islamic State militants captured parts of the Iraqi city of Rutbah on Monday, after fierce clashes forced the Iraqi army and tribal fighters to withdraw, military sources said.

The army withdrew from parts of the western city following two-days of intense clashes with Islamic State militants, a military commander told The New Arab.

"Militants managed to capture the military area north of the city and forced government forces, including tribal fighters to retreat," he added noting that the "withdrawal was due to a lack of air support provided to the small number of Iraqi soldiers present."

A number of news outlets on Monday evening reported that the city was under full IS control, which was denied by the governor of the Anbar province.

However, the Head of Rutbah's al-Waleed district, Ahmed Sadiq accused the army of taking a lax approach towards events in the city.

"Police forces and allied tribal fighters in the town of Kano suffer from a lack of weapons and equipment despite repeated pleas to increase supplies and manpower", Sadiq said.

The Islamic State has launched numerous surprise counter attacks across Iraq, including Rutbah, as Iraqi forces drilled through militant-held positions in the latest operation in Mosul.

Dozens of IS militants launched a surprise assault on Kirkuk this weekend, but Iraqi security forces managed to repel to attack and take control of the city.

Iraqi troops killed 74 IS fighters in a counter-offensive, with the government gaining full control of the northern city on Monday.

The spectacular attack led to three days of clashes that left at least 46 people dead, mostly members of the security forces, and the Kurdish-controlled city under curfew.

Baghdad  launched a huge offensive to retake Mosul from IS last week, which would win back the last major stronghold of the militants in Iraq.