Isis fighters 'kill 25 Sunni tribesmen' during battle for Iraqi provincial capital

Iraqi government forces exchange mortar fire with fighters in the east of Ramadi

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The Independent Online

Isis fighters have shot dead 25 members of a Sunni Muslim tribe near the major city of Ramadi in Iraq, according to local officials.

Isis, also known as Islamic State, killed the tribesmen during its assault on the capital of Iraq’s Al Anbar governorate in the centre of the country.

Sunni fighters have been supporting Iraqi soldiers in a major operation to retake a district of Ramadi seized by the militants. Ramadi is roughly 70 miles to the west of the country's capital Baghdad.

The fighting focused on Ramadi's Sijariya neighbourhood on the eastern edge of the city, which Isis said it gained control of on Friday. The militant group already controls most of the rest of the city.

The bodies of the men were discovered as Iraqi government forces advanced through the embattled city today as part of their counter-offensive.

Both sides are said to be exchanging mortar fire, according to Iraqi officials and local eyewitnesses. Gunfire is also being exchanged from the rooftops of the governorate and police headquarter buildings.

Isis fighters are believed to have killed more than 200 people from Anbar's Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe in recent weeks, apparently in response to it siding with Iraqi and western forces. Women and children are believed to be among those killed.

Meanwhile today, police said two bombings around Baghdad killed eight people and wounded 21; hospital officials confirmed the casualties.

Isis currently controls around third of Iraq and Syria and says it wants to establish a global Islamic caliphate.

In August the United States launched airstrikes in Iraq designed to support Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces fighting the group.

Ramadi has traditionally been a majority Sunni city, the Islamic denomination from which Isis draws most of its support.