April 3, 2016 / 11:32 AM / 3 years ago

Iraqis displaced from western city of Ramadi begin to return home

Civilians wait for security checks from Iraqi security forces while trying to reach safe areas in the west of Ramadi, March 14, 2016. Picture taken March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The displaced population of Ramadi has started to return to the western Iraqi city that was recaptured from Islamic State militants in December, a provincial official said on Sunday.

About 3,000 families have returned since Saturday to districts of Ramadi that have been cleared of mines and explosives, city governor Hameed Dulaymi told Reuters.

Families are relying on electricity generators as the public grid has not been repaired, he said. Water for domestic use is being pumped from the nearby Euphrates river, he added. Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Baghdad, is the first major success for Iraq’s army since it collapsed in the face of Islamic State’s lightning advance across the country’s north and west about two years ago.

Most of the city’s population of nearly half a million fled before the battle, taking shelter in camps west of Baghdad.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by Jason Neely

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