Militants stormed an Iraqi university campus taking dozens hostage on Saturday. The militants were able to gain access to the school by killing three university guards and blowing up the bridge that leads to the school’s main gate, said police.
Security personnel, which included members of special forces, launched an all out assault in an attempt to regain control of the university after they had cordoned off the school.
Afterwards, the militants left during a burst of gunfire between them and the security forces. Students boarded the buses to exit the school.
Gunmen who are members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, which is linked to al-Qaeda detained the university students in a dormitory, said security officials.
The attack was at Anbar University close to the city of Ramadi, a city just west of Baghdad the capital of Iraq.
Ahmed al Mehamdi a student, who was one of the hostages, said he woke up to gunfire, looked outside and saw men armed with automatic weapons dressed head to toe in black running across the university campus.
Just a few minutes later, the armed men entered the school’s dormitory and told everyone to remain inside in their individual rooms.
Talking on a telephone from inside the dormitory, al Mehamdi said the armed men took a number of the students to other buildings in the university.
The others remained in the dormitory rooms and were panicking especially the students who were Shia.
Sections of the province of Anbar, including the areas of Fallujah and Ramadi have been under the control of the ISIL and other militants that are Sunni for many months.
The attack on the university was the third major militant operation in the same number of days.
On Thursday, there was an assault in Samarra where rebels were kept back by strikes from helicopters.
On Friday, 36 or more people were killed from suicide bombings and heavy fighting in Nineveh a province to the north.
The violence has been sparked by the anger the Sunnis have at the government in Baghdad that is Shia-led.