EFE | Baghdad

Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite and Sunni tribal militiamen, launched on Tuesday a broad military campaign to liberate the western province of al-Anbar from the control of the Islamic State.

State television Al-Iraqiya announced the start of the offensive without providing further details.

Members of the Kitab al-Abbas Iraqi Shiite militia participate in training with the armed forces on May 20, 2015, in Nikheb near Ramadi city, southwes
Members of the Kitab al-Abbas Iraqi Shiite militia participate in training with the armed forces on May 20, 2015, in Nikheb near Ramadi city, southwest of Iraq. EFE / Alaa Al-SHEMAREE

Large areas of al-Anbar are under IS control, while the group seized the provincial capital, Ramadi, on May 17.

A security official told Efe that Iraqi forces advanced on Ramadi earlier on Tuesday, and reached al-Anbar University, in the south of the city.

The campaign is supported by the U.S.-led international coalition and troops from the army and the police, Shiite militiamen, and Sunni tribal fighters, according to the official.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi had told BBC television on Monday that Ramadi could be recovered "in days," but stressed that the support of the international community would be required.

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