Shelling kills 20 civilians in western Iraq

2015-01-02 14:30
File: AP

File: AP

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Cairo - At least 20 civilians, including three children, were killed after mortar shells hit their houses in western Iraq's volatile city of Fallujah, a hospital official said on Friday.

"The Fallujah General Hospital today received 20 bodies of residents in the city, among them were three children and a woman," the unnamed official told independent Iraqi broadcaster Alsumaria News.

Thirty others were wounded by shelling in Fallujah, a key city of al-Anbar province, according to the official.

It was not clear who had fired the shells.

Fallujah, around 60 kilometres west of the capital Baghdad, has in recent months been the scene of heavy fighting between government troops and Islamic State militants.

At least 1 900 civilians were killed last year by shells and rockets in Fallujah, the hospital announced on Thursday.

In 2013, the mostly Sunni province of al-Anbar saw sustained protests against then Shiite prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who at the end of the year sent security forces into the area to break up protest camps.

The ensuing clashes allowed Islamic State - a radical Sunni militia - to gain its first solid territorial foothold in Iraq, in Fallujah and al-Ramadi, which is al-Anbar's capital city.

The al-Qaeda splinter group grabbed more Iraqi territory in June. It also controls considerable areas in neighbouring Syria.

Read more on:    iraq

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