Iraqi forces have advanced on Islamic State militants in Ramadi in a bid to retake the city from the terrorist group, a government spokesperson said.
Sabah al-Numan said troops crossed the Euphrates River to reach downtown Ramadi Tuesday, AP reported.
The city has been under Islamic State control since May, when Iraqi forces withdrew following an onslaught.
The operation to retake Ramadi was launched in earnest in November.
Al-Numan said sporadic clashes were underway and Iraqi forces were being forced to remove roadside bombs as they pushed forward.
He said no paramilitary forces, mostly made up of pro-government Shiite militias, were taking part in the operation.
The Iraqi air force and the U.S.-led international coalition were providing air support to troops on the ground and bombing ISIS targets, he said.
Ramadi, 55 miles (about 90km) west of Baghdad, has been completely encircled by government forces since November, the BBC reported.
If the Iraqi forces are successful, Ramadi will become the second city in as many months to be liberated from ISIS militants.
In November, Kurdish forces cleared ISIS from the town of Sinjar, where the terrorist group massacred thousands of members of the Yazidi religious sect.
Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at email@example.com.
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