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Iraqi city of Ramadi, once home to 500,000, lies in ruins

RAMADI, Iraq — So complete was the destruction of Ramadi that a local reporter who had visited the city many times hardly recognized it.

“Honestly, this is the main street,” Amaj Hamid, a member of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces, told the TV crew as they entered from the southwest.

He swerved to avoid the aftermath of months of fighting: rubble, overturned cars and piles of twisted metal. Airstrikes and homemade bombs laid by the Islamic State group had shredded the poured-concrete walls and ceilings of the houses and shops along the road.

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