Iraqi government forces battle Isis in Ramadi
Iraqi government forces battle Isis in Ramadi (file photo). Iraqi troops entered the centre of the city on Tuesday, 22 December 2015, to recapture the town.Reuters File

Iraqi troops on Tuesday reached the centre of Ramadi, more than a month after starting efforts to retake the city that fell to the Islamic State in May this year.

The Iraqi forces were moving towards the government complex in the city backed by US coalition airstrikes while battling Isis militants. 

"Our forces are advancing toward the government complex in the centre of Ramadi. The fighting is in the neighbourhoods around the complex, with support from the air force," Sabah al-Numani, spokesman for the counter-terrorism units, told Reuters. 

"The city will be cleared in the coming 72 hours," the spokesman told AFP. 

Earlier this month, there were fears that thousands of civilians stranded in Ramadi under the control of the Islamic State could be used as human shields as the Iraqi troops advanced. 

Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province in western Iraq, fell to Isis militants in May -- a humiliating defeat for the Iraqi armed forces. 

Last month, Iraqi troops surrounded Ramadi and cut off supply lines to the Isis-held area. 

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