At least 21 civilians were killed on Tuesday – and another 24 injured – when Iraqi government warplanes carried out several “barrel bomb” attacks on the Daesh-held city of Fallujah, according to local medical sources.
Casualties included a number of women and children, the sources said, while the injured were taken to the city’s main hospital.
Iraqi politicians and prominent local figures have recently accused Iraqi military forces of targeting civilian parts of the city with barrel bombs.
Barrel bombs are improvised explosive devices typically consisting of barrels filled with combustible material and shrapnel. They are usually dropped from army helicopters.
On July 9, the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars voiced its concern over the situation in Fallujah following recent attacks by Iraqi forces and the allied Al-Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia, which, it asserted, had left “scores of civilians killed and injured.”
Eyewitnesses in Fallujah, meanwhile, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that Iraqi warplanes had dropped several barrel bombs on residential neighborhoods, causing massive material damage.
Civilians in the area, they added, were currently attempting to rescue injured victims from under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
In a related development, Col. Walid al-Delimi of the Iraqi army told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that 15 Daesh militants had been killed when U.S.-led coalition forces targeted a mosque in central Ramadi with airstrikes.
“Another ten Daesh militants were killed in a second round of airstrikes that targeted the Al-Tash area south of Ramadi,” al-Delimi added.
On Monday, Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced the launch of fresh military operations aimed at flushing Daesh militants from the Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the regional capital.
Although Daesh recently lost several parts of Iraq’s Diyala, Ninawah and Saladin provinces, it remains in control of most of Anbar, including Ramadi.