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Islamic State Prevents Civilians From Fleeing Iraqi City of Ramadi, by MATT BRADLEY and BEN KESLING (WSJ)

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Dec. 1, 2015

Iraqi forces urge people to leave city ahead of an offensive to retake it

Islamic State fighters are preventing civilians from fleeing the city of Ramadi—and threatening to kill those who try—after Iraqi forces warned people to leave ahead of an impending offensive, residents said Tuesday.

Iraqi forces have been airdropping leaflets since Sunday warning residents to get out before they launch an operation to recapture the Islamic State stronghold. Residents said the extremist group, also known as ISIS, wants to use civilians as human shields.

“ISIS is encircling us from all sides preventing us from leaving the city,” said one resident. “We are desperate now. We can’t do anything…We have sick people with no medicine and there is no food to eat,” the man, who gave his nickname Abu Ahmed, said in an audio message sent to friends outside the city on Monday night.

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