With a 2006 population of around 280,000, the city of Ramadi was a rapidly growing metropolitan area in Iraq. Situated about halfway between Tharthar Lake and Habbaniyah Lake, the city is located about 60 miles west of Baghdad on the Euphrates River. Ramadi is also a converging point for transit, especially for points west such as Syria. Its strategic location has made it the focal point for many conflicts throughout history. During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), this was no exception to the rule.
Insurgency had been rampant for years in Ramadi by April 2006. The outbreak of terrorist and urban warfare activities was traced to the fall of Fallujah two years earlier. American forces had set up observation points and security checkpoints to attempt to curb ongoing insurgent activities in the city, but exchanges of small arms fire and occasional improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continued. The curtain rose on the Second Battle of Ramadi finally on 17 April 2006, with insurgents striking at multiple checkpoints and the city center.
The strikes were eventually repelled by elements of the 3d Bn, 8th Marines at the checkpoints and the city center, but not before multiple IEDs detonated around the city. The Marines suffered minor losses, while killing dozens of insurgents. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the Mujahideen Shura Council were discovered to be the planners and orchestrators of the attacks by the end of April.
Subsequent clashes erupted in the following months and attacks on the General Hospital, and the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Al-Qaeda elements defined Ramadi as the capital for the ISI, complete with a defacto caliphate. Ground fighting consisting of Marines, and Soldiers along with air strikes were the regular in Ramadi through mid-November, when fighting peaked in the city center.
By 15 November, attacks had dropped a significant amount according to U.S. forces, and the precision strikes by insurgents had greatly waned. This was despite criticisms drawn by media outlets reporting of a 14 November airstrike that had disputed accounts of civilian casualties.
Ramadi continued to be a hotbed for insurgent activity of a smaller scale in the months that followed. By 2013, war erupts again in Ramadi spurred by the Islamic State (IS). Conflict continued into 2016 with the bulk of conflict resolution against IS being handled by the new Iraqi Armed Forces. Support was periodically provided by allied coalition forces from Britain, France, the United States, and Australia. The continued conflict has resulted in major destruction of the city, as much as 90 percent, however it has not stopped population growth since its liberation.
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