Iraq Vows to Recapture Ramadi ‘in Days’

Iraq Vows to Recapture Ramadi ‘in Days’Iraq Vows to Recapture Ramadi ‘in Days’

Iraq’s military vowed Monday to recapture the city of Ramadi from the IS militant group “within days,” after criticism from the US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that Iraqi troops “lack the will to fight.”

An 8,000-strong force of Iraqi forces, bolstered by Shiite militias and Sunni tribesmen, were amassed east of the city in the town of Khalidiya and were awaiting orders to launch “a major offensive,” an official from the Iraqi army said, speaking on condition of anonymity, NBC News reported.

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated [on Sunday] that the operation to liberate Ramadi will start soon, and the city is going to be liberated within days,” the official said.

Las week, IS militants hoisted their flag over Ramadi, some around 110 km from the center of Baghdad.

In the wake of the defeat, US defense chief said on Sunday that “most of us…have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight [IS] and defend themselves.”

His comments came after the Pentagon said last week that a “failure of leadership and tactics” by the Iraqi security forces was partly to blame for the territorial loss.

Responding to Carter’s comments,  al-Abadi’s media director, Sa’ad Al-Hadithi, said the Iraqi government had “started its own investigation to punish those who neglected their duty” in Ramadi.

The senior defense official conceded that “the Iraqi government now is under a real pressure after the latest statement by the US secretary of defense concerning the will of Iraqis to fight for their country.”