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Iraqi forces launch attack on ISIS in Babil, bombard Fallujah - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Members of the Iraqi security forces inspect an Iraqi army vehicle damaged during clashes with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Jurf al-Sakhar, April 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed)

Members of the Iraqi security forces inspect an Iraqi army vehicle damaged during clashes with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Jurf al-Sakhar, April 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi security forces clashed with members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the province of Babil on Sunday, as part of an effort to reassert control of the nearby city of Fallujah.

A police spokesman said army and police units were searching for members of ISIS in the province area when the fighting erupted.

In a statement, the spokesman said: “A unit from Babil police, in cooperation with the army, launched an extensive operation in Al-Abed, Yas and Bahbahan areas, in search of members of the armed groups who booby-trapped houses and planted a number of explosive devices on the roadside to target the army.” He added: “The operation involved violent clashes where all types of arms were used.”

Meanwhile, the head of the security committee for the central and southern areas at Babil’s provincial council, Falah Al-Khafaji, said: “A unit from Babil operations burned three ISIS camps and nine cars, and killed 15 gunmen in the Al-Farisiyah area of Jarf Al-Sakhr, northern Babil.”

Jarf Al-Sakhr, which has been the scene of military operations for a number of weeks, borders the city of Fallujah in the Sunni-majority Anbar Province, where Iraqi security forces have been battling insurgents since the end of last year.

Army and police spokesmen said the area was used by insurgents as a transit route in order to open a new front against the security forces and relieve the pressure on Fallujah.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Musayyab, Qasim Rahim, denied media reports that displaced families from Jarf Al-Sakhr area had moved into schools and mosques, and said: “The council provided houses for the families from Jarf Al-Sakhr who were displaced by the military operations against the terrorists in their area.”

Fighting continued in and around Fallujah over the weekend as government forces continued to vie with local insurgents and members of ISIS for control of the city.

A spokesman for the city’s general hospital, Ahmed Al-Shami, said: “Fallujah General Hospital received seven bodies and 20 injured individuals who were struck by mortar rounds which hit their homes in Askari, Jughaifi, Shuhada, Jubail, Joulan, Nazzal and Risalah districts.”

A member of the Sunni Arabiya List in Iraq’s parliament, Talal Al-Zawba’i, accused the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki of mishandling the ongoing crisis in Anbar.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The problem in . . . Anbar has gone on for too long and it should have been resolved earlier, but there is no real desire by the government for a solution.”

He added: “The government had many opportunities to solve the crisis since the start of the protests, but it seems there was another plan which aimed at prolonging the crisis in order to increase sectarian tension in the run-up to the last elections.”

Meanwhile, police and medical sources said a booby-trapped car exploded in front of a shop in Kirkuk in northern Iraq on Saturday night. The attack, in the city’s Al-Wasty district, killed 11 people and injured 27 others, caused damage to nearby shops and burnt a number of cars.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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