Gunmen storm Iraq's Anbar University, briefly take hostages

By Kyle Johnson,

Gunmen stormed Iraq's Anbar University on Saturday, managing to take some students hostage for a short period, before being repelled by security forces.

An official said that three police officers were killed by the militants as they entered the campus after blowing through a gate, grabbing dozens of students from a nearby dorm, reports The Associated Press.

The gunmen allegedly told the students in the dorm that they were members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, though no group spokesman has come forward to take responsibility yet.

After holding the students hostage for a few hours, security forces were able to force the Sunni militants out of the campus, allowing the university to safely board buses to be taken to a secure location.

One student, Ahmed al-Mehamdi, who was in the dorm when students were snagged by the terror group, said, "We thank God that this crisis ended almost peacefully and no student was hurt as far as I know."

Sabah Karhout, the provincial council chief, confirmed that by saying, "Not a single student or a university staff member was hurt during the raid. All of them went home and their ordeal is over."

According to BBC News, the province of Anbar, including Ramadi, has been struggling with increased sectarian violence, which has killed more than 3,500 people in 2014.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who is seeking a third term, has taken blame for being unable to quell the Sunni militants. He in turn has tried to place the blame elsewhere, including on the current Syrian conflict.

 
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