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Islamic State Gains Ground Near Ramadi

People leave their hometown Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, April 15, 2015.

Islamic State fighters captured more territory outside the capital of Iraq's Anbar province Wednesday, residents and local officials said.

In an offensive that began at dawn, the militants seized three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi.

Hundreds of U.S. and coalition forces have been training Iraqi troops at Anbar's Ain Al-Asad air base, about 110 kilometers west of Ramadi, which came under IS attack in mid-February. The attack, which involved a suicide bomber, was repelled.

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Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said last week that Iraqi forces would next focus on retaking control of Anbar province after succeeding in pushing the Islamic State group out of the city of Tikrit.

Abadi met with President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday to ask for more help in the campaign against the militants. Obama pledged $205 million in humanitarian aid but did not publicly announce any new military assistance for Iraq.

The United States has been leading a campaign of airstrikes to aid Iraqi forces. Obama said Tuesday that the Iraqi troops had retaken about a quarter of the territory seized by Islamic State fighters who'd swept through large areas of Iraq last June.