Militants occupy Iraqi university campus, take students hostage

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RAMADI – occupied a university Iraq’s western province of Anbar on Saturday, taking hundreds of and professors hostage inside the campus, security sources said.

After way past the guards, the managed to break into Anbar University the provincial capital Ramadi overnight and planted bombs behind them to prevent security forces advancing.

Security forces surrounded the university and exchanged fire with patrolling the rooftops with sniper rifles. Sources Ramadi hospital said they had received the bodies of two people, one of them a student and the other a policeman.

A professor trapped inside the physics department said some staff whose homes are outside Ramadi had been spending the night at the university because it was the exam period.

“We heard intense gunfire at about 4 am. We thought it was the security forces coming to protect us but were surprised to see they were ,” he told Reuters via telephone. “They forced us to go inside the rooms and now we cannot leave”.

The identity of the assailants was clear, but Ramadi is one of two cities in Anbar that were overrun at the start of the year by tribal and Sunni insurgents, including the Islamic in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The government has since regained control of central Ramadi, where the council and other offices are located, but the ’s suburbs and outlying areas are still the scene of hit and run attacks by . (Reuters)