Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) has seized the city of Ramadi in Al-Anbar province after Iraqi government forces withdrew from their positions.

The Islamist militants gained full control of the Sunni-majority city after several days of fighting, according to reports citing government officials.

Isis claimed it has seized the 8th Brigade army base and has acquired heavy weaponry including tanks and missile launchers left behind by Iraqi security forces.

Ramadi is located 112 kilometres west of Baghdad and is the capital of Al-Anbar province, which is the country’s largest and covers the entire west of Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would deploy Shia militia to the city.

“Isis has conducted a series of attacks in Iraq that show its continued capacity to design sophisticated military operations,” wrote Sasa Hezir of US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in a weekly roundup of Iraq activity.

“Isis’s main attack on Ramadi on 15 May followed other tactical offensives in recent weeks that were likely planned preparatory phases for the assault in Al-Anbar rather than isolated attacks,” he added.

Al-Anbar has become the main front for Isis ground attacks in Iraq along with the continued conflict of the Iraq’s largest refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad.

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