Ramadi is in Iraq’s Anbar province, and its strategic importance is huge. Anbar’s governor, Ahmed al-Dulaimi, said in November 2014: “If we lose Anbar, that means we will lose Iraq.”
“ISIS on offensive in Iraq’s Ramadi, taking over mosque and government buildings,” by Hamdi Alkhshali, Yousuf Basil and Greg Botelho, CNN, May 15, 2015:
(CNN)The months-long fight for the key central Iraqi city of Ramadi now appears to be going ISIS’s way, with the Islamist extremist group capturing police headquarters, the Ramadi Great Mosque and even raising its trademark black flag over the provincial government building, sources said.
The ISIS push began Thursday, with armored bulldozers and at least 10 suicide bombings used to burst through gates and blast through walls in Ramadi, according to a security source who has since left the city. Dozens of militants followed them into the city center.
Anbar Gov. Suhaib Al-Rawi said the offensive, including suicide-attacks with explosive-rigged cars near security posts, continued into Friday.
Iraqi and allied forces fought back, with state-run Al-Iraqiya TV reporting at least eight coalition airstrikes on ISIS positions and Iraqi helicopters active in support of ground troops.
At least 47 Iraqi security forces and 26 civilians were killed in the fighting on Friday, according to two security sources.
Offering Washington’s take on what’s happening, a U.S. official said Ramadi “remains very fluid.” The official characterized the situation as “50/50,” with Iraqi forces in control of much of the city center and ISIS in the suburbs surrounding it.
On Friday, the United States announced that it is “expediting” weapon shipments to Iraq because of the current fighting in Ramadi.
The White House said in a statement that the weapons include AT-4 shoulder-held rockets to counter vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, as well as ammunition and other supplies.
This is in addition to airstrikes and other military support provided to Iraq by the United States….