Isis launches huge counter-attack in key stronghold city of Ramadi days after it was ‘liberated’

Officials say Iraqi forces have since re-taken control of the attacked base

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The Independent Online

Isis militants have launched a huge counter-offensive in the key city of Ramadi days after government forces recaptured it from the jihadist group's control.

An unidentified source toldthe  Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency the extremist group sent six “suicide vehicles” followed by fighters wearing explosive belts to an Iraqi compound in north Ramadi on Friday.

According to AFP, the fighters managed to take control of the base “when the army had to pull out because it suffered casualties” but Iraqi forces have since re-taken control, backed by an aerial coalition.

However, CNN has reported 10 vehicles packed with explosives attacked the base killing three Iraqi soldiers and wounding 17.

The attack is the biggest one launched by Isis against Iraqi forces since the recapture of Ramadi.

Spokesman for the US-led coalition in Baghdad, Colonel Steve Warren, told Associated Press that majority of the attacks are on the outskirts of the city, and Iraqi government forces have “successfully repelled every attack” since they began.

He said there has been no evidence of Isis having enough “combat power to move Iraq off their positions”.

A week ago, the Iraqi government announced it had successfully “liberated” the city of Ramadi, but local tribal leaders said this week that Isis still controls as much as 25 per cent of the city.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared 2016 will be the year “of the big and final victory” and vowed to “terminate” Isis’ presence in Iraq.

He also said: “We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh”, using an Arabic acronym for Isis.