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Iraqi PM says no to foreign ground troops

Iraqi PM, Haider al-Abadi said foreign ground troops were neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against Isis and urges international community to expand campaign against Islamic State insurgents into Syria.

The Guardian reports:- “Iraq‘s new prime minister has said foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against Islamic State (Isis)

Haider al-Abadi instead urged the international community to expand its campaign against the extremist group into neighbouring Syria. In an interview with AP, Abadi said the fight against the group that has declared a caliphate across swaths of Syria and Iraq will be endless unless the group is attacked on both fronts.

Iraq launched an intense military operation against Isis insurgents in three central cities on Wednesday, fighting to regain control of lost ground, security sources said.

The offensives in Ramadi, Falluja and Haditha in the western province of Anbar were said to have started before dawn.

Sunni tribes revolted in these areas in late 2013, when Iraq’s former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, moved his forces into the cities to suppress a year-long anti-government protest movement.

Isis insurgents then entered the cities and became the dominant force over the course of several months’ fighting against the Shia-led government.

Abadi promised last week to end Iraqi strikes on cities to reduce civilian casualties. Wednesday’s attacks took place in outlying suburbs of the three cities.

Security sources said the Iraqi army’s eighth division hit areas in western Ramadi with mortars, artillery and rocket fire. Government-aligned Sunni tribal fighters also clashed with Isis forces in Ramadi, leaving eight people dead, a hospital source in Ramadi said.

In Falluja, heavy shelling and Iraqi air force strikes hit the al-Sujur district on the edge of the city, killing 12 civilians, according to medics.

Isis insurgents attempted to take control of Barwana – a residential area three miles (5km) south of Haditha – on Wednesday, a security source said, leading to clashes with pro-Baghdad forces. Unlike Falluja and Ramadi, the Iraqi army still controls much of Haditha.”