Iraqi security forces make their way during a patrol looking for Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Ramadi April 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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ISIS launched an offensive in Iraq's western Anbar province Wednesday, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi and forcing villagers to flee from their homes as fierce clashes were underway between the extremists and government troops, residents said.Wednesday's fighting could also further threaten Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. The city is mostly held by government forces but militants control some parts of it, mainly on the outskirts.Around noon Wednesday, the militants opened another front with the government troops on three other villages, to the northeast of Ramadi, the residents also said.Hundreds of U.S. and coalition forces have been training Iraqi troops at Anbar's Ain al-Asad air base, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Ramadi, which came under an ISIS attack in mid-February.
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