Gunmen occupy Iraqi university campus,
take students hostage
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[June 07, 2014]
RAMADI Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen
occupied a university in Iraq's western province of Anbar on Saturday,
taking hundreds of students and their professors hostage inside the
campus, security sources said.
After fighting their way past the guards, the militants managed to
break into Anbar University in the provincial capital Ramadi
overnight and planted bombs behind them to prevent security forces
Security forces surrounded the university and exchanged fire with
militants patrolling the rooftops with sniper rifles. Sources in
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 gunmen," he told Reuters via telephone. "They forced us to go
inside the rooms and now we cannot leave".
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The identity of the assailants was not 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 State in Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL).
The government has since regained control of central Ramadi, where
the city council and other offices are located, but the city's
suburbs and outlying areas are still the scene of hit and run
attacks by militants.
(Reporting by Kamal Naama and additional reporting by Raheem Salman;
Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Sophie Hares)
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