Iraqi army holds off attacking al-Qaeda-held Fallujah

Iraqi army holds off attacking al-Qaeda-held Fallujah
Tue Jan 7, 2014 18:54:26

Iraqi army has put off attacking teh al-Qaeda-held city of Fallujah citing fear of civilian casualties, as fighting and missile strikes in nearby Ramadi killed 29 people.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, a Defense Ministry spokesman said the army has deployed troops outside the city in the western Province of Anbar, but, “it is not possible to assault (Fallujah) now" due to concerns about civilian casualties.

The statement also added that Iraqi jets have pounded militants’ hideouts in the nearby city of Ramadi, killing 25 pro al-Qaeda militants on Tuesday.

The development comes as the army and tribesmen have launched an operation to clear the city from the militants.

The militants are said to enjoy the support of certain regional countries that benefit from instability in the area.

The cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in the Anbar Province have been the scene of deadly clashes between the Iraqi army and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants over the past days.

Iraqi military officials said dozens of militants loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have so far been killed in Anbar.

The violence broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.”

The violence later spread to Fallujah, where security forces had withdrawn from some areas.

On Monday, Iraqi forces killed 30 ISIL militants in Fallujah. Local tribesmen supporting the Iraqi government also killed three militants and injured four others in Ramadi.


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