Iraqi Spring, a media center in Iraq, has released a video showing a number of abandoned Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) vehicles near Khaladiya. The city, which sits near the town of Habbaniya, is just over 10 miles from Anbar province’s capital of Ramadi. Most of the vehicles shown are US-made M113 armored personnel carriers.
Al Jazeera has reported that the Iraqi Security Forces and the Islamic State have clashed near Khaladiya in recent days. The vehicles were abandoned by the ISF when they retreated from the fighting, according to the Qatari news organization. The video and the fighting in Khaladiya comes as the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi, announced the beginning of an operation to liberate Tikrit and all of Salahadin province in central Iraq. The wider focus and attention of the ISF is likely invested in that operation.
Khaladiyah, Habbaniyah, and the nearby town of Saqlawiyah have seen severe fighting in the past. In early January, the Islamic State attacked Camp Habbaniyah, and the jihadists were briefly able to breach the military base’s perimeter. Camp Saqlawiyah was overrun last September, when a suicide bomber in a captured Humvee and wearing an ISF uniform was able to detonate inside the camp. After the suicide bombing, an Islamic State assault team was able to overrun the ISF personnel inside. Hundreds of ISF personnel and Sunni tribesmen were thought to have been killed in the attack. In July 2014, the Islamic State ambushed and destroyed an Iraqi armored column in Khalidiyah. During the fighting, Islamic State fighters destroyed three US-supplied M1 Abrams main battle tanks and captured several American-made M113 armored personnel carriers. [For more on these attacks, see LWJ reports Islamic State assaults Iraqi Army base in Anbar, Islamic State photos detail rout of Iraqi Army at Camp Saqlawiya, and Islamic State routs Iraqi armored column in Anbar.]
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