Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
05:11 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
30 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Iraqi planes, artillery strike Fallujah
Reuters
A member of the Iraqi security stands guard outside the Anbar province police headquarters in Ramadi.  AFP PHOTO/AZHAR SHALLAL
A member of the Iraqi security stands guard outside the Anbar province police headquarters in Ramadi. AFP PHOTO/AZHAR SHALLAL
A+ A-

BAGHDAD: Iraqi government forces battling Al-Qaeda-linked militants intensified airstrikes and artillery fire on the rebel-held city of Fallujah Sunday, and at least seven people were killed, according to hospital officials and tribal leaders. Religious and tribal leaders in the city, 50 km west of Baghdad, said that they feared an imminent assault by the army to expel militants and end a three-week standoff that has driven thousands of people from their homes.

Iraqi security forces have set up a loose cordon around Fallujah and have clashed sporadically with insurgents inside. But they have held off from an all-out offensive, to give community leaders and tribesmen time to convince the gunmen to withdraw.

“There is no time left for talks and we’re afraid a military solution is looming,” said a local preacher in Fallujah, which was the scene of two major battles with U.S. troops in 2004. “A third Fallujah battle is at the doors.”

On Sunday morning, Al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked an army post in southern Fallujah, seizing two Humvee vehicles and destroying a third, local sources said.

A Reuters witness saw gunmen driving the Humvees, in which they were holding four people wearing Iraqi army uniforms captive.

Hospital officials said 42 people had been wounded by the airstrikes, artillery and mortar shelling.

Four civilians have been killed in Fallujah over the past two days. It was not clear if militants had sustained casualties.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which is also fighting in neighboring Syria, took control of Fallujah and parts of nearby Ramadi on Jan. 1 with the help of sympathetic armed tribesmen.

A government military offensive in recent days drove Al-Qaeda fighters from large desert areas they had been controlling along the Syrian border in western Iraq.

Iraqi security officials said no deadline had yet been set for a military operation in Fallujah, but voiced concern that further delay may allow insurgents to strengthen their positions.

“We have not received green light to start an assault, but the longer we wait means Al-Qaeda could get more powerful and complicate our job to defeat them,” said a special forces officer.

In Ramadi, where tribesmen have helped the army to counter the Al-Qaeda insurgents, official sources said militant groups had retaken the eastern areas the city after security forces withdrew.

The Defense Ministry said that 20 ISIS militants had been killed in the military operation in eastern Ramadi.

More than 65,000 people have fled the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi during the past week alone, the United Nations said Friday.

Violence in Iraq climbed back to its highest level in five years in 2013, with nearly 9,000 people killed, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

In a separate incident, three car bombs went off in the city of Kirkuk, killing five people and wounding 14, police and medical sources said. An army captain was killed and three soldiers were wounded when gunmen opened fire on their patrol in a village north of the city.

In Baghdad, a former army officer was killed along with his wife when gunmen using silenced weapons broke into their house, police said.

The bodies of three men with their hands tied behind their backs and bullet wounds had been found in northern Shiite areas of Baghdad, police said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 27, 2014, on page 9.
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Iraq
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
Iraqi government forces battling Al-Qaeda-linked militants intensified airstrikes and artillery fire on the rebel-held city of Fallujah Sunday, and at least seven people were killed, according to hospital officials and tribal leaders.

A Reuters witness saw gunmen driving the Humvees, in which they were holding four people wearing Iraqi army uniforms captive.

Hospital officials said 42 people had been wounded by the airstrikes, artillery and mortar shelling.

It was not clear if militants had sustained casualties.

In a separate incident, three car bombs went off in the city of Kirkuk, killing five people and wounding 14, police and medical sources said. An army captain was killed and three soldiers were wounded when gunmen opened fire on their patrol in a village north of the city.
Related Articles
 
 
Three killed in fierce clashes in Iraq's Anbar
 
 
Iraq forces kill 19 as unrest spikes ahead of polls
 
 
ISIS jihadists open new front in Baghdad push
 
 
Bombers kill five at Iraq provincial govt. compound
 
 
Islamist militants kill 30 in attacks around Iraq
Show More
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS