Iraq dismisses Anbar police chief after Ramadi rout

Iraqi residents from the city of Ramadi, who fled their homes as Islamic State militants tightened their siege on the last government positions in the capital of Anbar province, wait to cross Bzeibez bridge, on the southwestern frontier of Baghdad, o
Iraqi residents from the city of Ramadi, who fled their homes as Islamic State militants tightened their siege on the last government positions in the capital of Anbar province, wait to cross Bzeibez bridge, on the southwestern frontier of Baghdad, on May 20, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's interior minister on Wednesday dismissed the police chief of Anbar province, where the performance of security forces during the Islamic State militant takeover of its capital Ramadi has come under scrutiny.

Mohammed al-Ghaban relieved Kadhim al-Fahdawi of his duties and appointed Major-General Hadi al-Rzayej, ordering him to choose new headquarters and begin "reorganising the Anbar and Ramadi police".

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on Sunday took full control of the Anbar provincial capital following a three-day blitz that ended with a chaotic retreat of government forces.

The Iraqi Cabinet said Tuesday that while those who fought bravely to defend Ramadi should be honoured, it would severely punish "recalcitrants".

Video footage posted on social media and accounts from fighters in Ramadi suggest that members of the Ramadi police deserted their posts at the height of the ISIS offensive last week.