Islamic State destroyed 15 bridges during capture of Anbar: Official

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Anbar ( Islamic State militants have destroyed 15 bridges during their capture of Anbar province, a well-placed provincial official said.

“Islamic State militants have demolished eight bridges at Annah and Rawa towns (210 km west of Ramadi) and seven others at al-Qaam (350 km west of Ramadi),” Mahdi Abdul Farhan, the head of the Roads and Bridges Directorate of Anbar, said in press release, quoted by the National News Center on Monday.

The reconstruction of such “strategic and vital bridges” will cost 15 billion Iraqi dinars and will take a year to be finalized, Farhan added.

Before being driven out of Anbar, Islamic State militants destroyed many bridges linking the province’s towns with the aim of preventing Iraqi troops from advancing further into areas under their control.

Around seventy percent of western regions in Anbar province were destroyed due to terrorist crimes carried out by Islamic State as well as liberation offensives by the military, according to Fahd al-Rashed, a member of Anbar provincial council.

“The rate of destruction exceeds 70 percent in the liberated regions of Rawa and al-Qaam, with a high rate of destruction in Annah west of Anbar,” he told BasNews website earlier this month.

“Preliminary estimates showed the destruction of 26 schools, blasting most of the governmental authorities and booby-trapping of 17 service projects,” he said.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by the US-led international coalition, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over Islamic State, marking the end of a three-year war against the militant group.

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