Hundreds killed in Fallujah violence since December, medical officials say
At least 295 people have so far been killed from violence in and around the Iraqi city of Fallujah, held by al-Qaeda militants, a medical official says.
Dr Ahmed Shami, chief medic at Fallujah’s main hospital, said on Wednesday that some 1,296 people have also been injured in the area between December 30 and May 7.
The actual toll could be higher as dead and injured people might have not been taken to hospitals or have been transferred to other medical centers.
Anbar Province plunged into violence in December 2013 when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in the provincial capital Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.”
Militants from the al-Qaeda group, the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), subsequently took control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi.
Iraqi troops, backed by local tribesmen, have since been fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in the region.
The violence has inflicted severe damage on infrastructure, and forced nearly 400,000 people to flee their homes.
Iraq is currently witnessing a wave of violence unprecedented in recent years. Based on official figures, over 1,000 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives in violent attacks across Iraq in April.
In March, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saudi Arabia and Qatar were responsible for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing the Al Saud regime as a major supporter of global terrorism.