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Iraq reopens road from 'liberated' Ramadi to Baghdad

Iraqi security forces announce recapture of formerly IS-occupied areas around capital of Anbar province
A member of Iraqi pro-government forces flashes a victory sign atop an armoured vehicle on the eastern outskirts of Ramadi (AFP)

The commanders of Iraq's security forces on Tuesday announced the recapture of areas surrounding Ramadi from the Islamic State group, and said that the main road from the city to Baghdad had been reopened.

"[Our forces] managed to open the road from Ramadi to Baghdad which passes through al-Khaldiya," the joint command forces said in a statement, referring to a highway that links Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, to the Habbaniya base where US-led coalition forces are located.

The areas of Sichariya, Juwaiba and Husaiba in the eastern areas of Ramadi were also “liberated”, the statement added.

IS overran Ramadi in May 2015 in an assault spearheaded by a wave of car and truck bombs, a major blow to Iraqi forces, which had been regaining ground from the militants in other provinces.

Iraq announced in late December the recapture of Ramadi but daily fighting with IS fighters continued for over a month on the city's eastern outskirts.

The Iraqi army is working on dismantling bombs planted by IS in the city, and much of the infrastructure needs to be reconstructed.

IS still holds Fallujah, east of Ramadi, and has also held Mosul, Iraq's second city in the north of the country, since the summer of 2014.

Iraq is deploying thousands of soldiers to an area southeast of Mosul for operations aimed at cutting supply lines linking it with areas farther south, which will set the stage for direct efforts to retake the city.