Friday, August 01, 2014


Iraq

Iraqi Tribal Forces, Police Set To Enter Fallujah

Tribal militia commander Muhammad Khamis Abu Risha (right) says only about 10 percent of Ramadi is still controlled by the insurgents.
Tribal militia commander Muhammad Khamis Abu Risha (right) says only about 10 percent of Ramadi is still controlled by the insurgents.
By RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq
RAMADI, Iraq -- A local council leader says pro-government tribal forces are preparing to enter Fallujah, where an unknown number of Al-Qaeda-linked militants remain.

Iraq's western, Sunni-majority Anbar Province has been the scene of recent fighting between Islamist militants and forces supporting the Shi'ite-led government.

Reports from Fallujah say civilians continue fleeing the city, which was seized by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last week.

Reports from Fallujah said civilians continue fleeing the city, which was seized by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last week.

The United Nations estimates some 11,000 families have fled Fallujah since fighting started.

The Iraqi government rushed troops to the area but held up their advance into the city to prevent civilian casualties and called on pro-government Sunni tribal leaders to help local law enforcement rid Fallujah of the militants.

Fallujah was the scene of heavy fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents in 2004.

Police and hospital officials said at least one militant was killed and three were wounded during fighting on the outskirts of Fallujah on January 11.

An Anbar Provincial Council official told RFE/RL that tribal forces and police would go into Fallujah on January 12.

The council also held an emergency session on January 11 and appointed a new police commander and a new council head for Fallujah.

Ramadi was reportedly still partially under Islamist control.

AFP quoted pro-government tribal military commander Muhammad Khamis Abu Risha as saying only about 10 percent of Ramadi was still controlled by the Islamists.

Police have set up checkpoints along main streets in residential districts of Ramadi.

Health authorities in Anbar Province said late on January 10 that 60 people had been killed in the recent fighting, 43 in Ramadi and 17 in Fallujah, and nearly 300 wounded.

Heavy violence started after the December 28 arrest of a Sunni lawmaker on terrorism charges and the government's dismantling of a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi.

With reporting by AFP

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