News / Middle East

Iraqi Airstrikes Kill 19 Near Fallujah


Iraqi government air strikes killed 19 people, including children, in Falluja on Monday and Tuesday, a health official in the militant-held city said.

The Iraqi army has been shelling Falluja, 70 km (44 miles west of Baghdad), for months, trying to drive out the Sunni militants from the group now known as Islamic State. The insurgents, backed by discontented local Sunni tribal leaders, overran the city in January.

Ahmed al-Shami, a spokesman for the Falluja health office — the local arm of the health ministry — said the 19 dead included women and children and that Falluja hospital had also received 38 wounded people since Monday evening.

Residents of Falluja and the nearby town of Garma said helicopters fired artillery and dropped three barrel bombs on Falluja and two on Garma.

Barrel bombs — powerful makeshift weapons made from high explosives, cement and metal parts packed into oil drums, usually dropped from helicopters — have gained notoriety in the region because of their use in neighboring Syria by President Bashar al-Assad's forces to flatten buildings in rebel-held areas.

Scores of people have been killed since January in what residents describe as indiscriminate bombardment. In May, witnesses in Falluja said barrel bombs had been dropped on the city.

The government denies indiscriminate attacks, saying it targets insurgents, but a mid-level security officer in Anbar province has previously confirmed that barrel bombs have been dropped on Fallujah.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's military spokesman, Lieutenant-General Qassim Atta, was not immediately available to comment on this week's attacks.

Some 560,000 people have fled Anbar province — a large area of western Iraq where Fallujah is situated — since the Islamic State takeover in January, according to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based humanitarian organisation.

Islamic State took over a swath of northern territory last month in an assault that caused large numbers of government soldiers to desert, shifting the main battleground in a civil war that pits the Shi'ite-led Baghdad government against a well-equipped Sunni insurgency.

Maliki's office said on Tuesday he had met Sunni tribal leaders from several provinces where the conflict is raging. Anger with Maliki's government has encouraged some Sunni armed groups to stick with the hardline Islamic State despite ideological differences, officials and tribal leaders say.

The conflict, which threatens to break up Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines, has killed almost 5,600 civilians this year, according to the latest United Nations figures.

Twenty-three people, nine of them policemen, were killed late on Tuesday when a suicide bomber drove a car into a checkpoint at the entrance to the mostly Shi'ite Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad, local police and a hospital source said. The sources said 52 people were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

In the mainly Shi'ite town of Nahrawan east of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in a market on Tuesday, killing five people and wounding 13, police and medical sources said.

A roadside bomb targeting an army patrol in the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad killed one soldier and wounded four, police and medical sources said. Two mortar rounds landed in the mostly Shi'ite area of Sabaa al-Bour just north of the capital, killing one person, police and medics there said.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the capital, including a wave of car-bomb attacks on Saturday that killed at least 27 people.

In the town of Abu al-Khaseeb, south of the predominantly Shi'ite city of Basra, gunmen broke into a Sunni mosque on Tuesday during prayers, killing the preacher and kidnapping four men who were praying, police sources said.

The body of one of the kidnapped men was found dumped on the side of a road near the mosque, the sources said.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John
July 23, 2014 11:29 AM
I would have thought the Iraqis'd have better ammo than improvised bombs, given all the US equipment they've been given. No doubt everything has been stolen. As for the war, I hope Obama doesn't repeat Raygun Ron's error in Lebanon or Bush the Elder's in Somalia, and send inadequate numbers of lightly armed troops to show the flag. Oops. He's done that already.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs