Iraqi Army soldiers duck below windows as they stack up on a wall before clearing a building during training. Photo: ADF
Iraqi Army soldiers duck below windows as they stack up on a wall before clearing a building during training. Photo: ADF

Aussies' role in retaking of Ramadi praised

AUSTRALIA's role in the retaking of key territory in Ramadi has been praised by the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston.

The Counter Terrorism Service 1st Iraqi Special Operations Force Brigade (1st ISOF) raised the Iraq flag over the Government buildings this week, symbolising the liberation of Ramadi on 28 December 2015.

The ADF said SOTG-I advisors enabled more than 150 airstrikes in support of 1st ISOF Brigade's offensive, resulting in the destruction of some 50 Daesh fighting positions, 16 heavy machine guns and numerous vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

"It is deeply satisfying to see how the Australian Special Operations Task Group in Iraq have supported 1st ISOF Brigade through the Advise and Assist mission," Vice Admiral Johnston said.

VADM Johnston said SOTG-I has been providing training assistance to 1st ISOF Brigade for over a year including advanced skill sets needed in the Special Operations environment, such as tactics, medical aid and counter improvised explosive device skills.

Vice Admiral Johnston said other Australian Task Groups in the Middle East have also contributed to the Iraqi operational successes.

"The F/A-18A Hornets from the Air Task Group were vital in striking Daesh fighting positions that were hampering the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services to advance through Ramadi," he said.

"Air Task Group Hornets conducted two missions on 22 and 29 December where five and two munitions were released respectively.

"As a direct result of at least one attack, the Daesh fighters were silenced and the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services were able to continue with their clearance of central Ramadi."

Overall, the Air Task Group has completed 99 missions and released 96 munitions since July for operations in Ramadi.


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