World Bulletin/News Desk
The Iraqi government on Tuesday denied the use of barrel bombs by the Iraqi army in its ongoing military operation in the flashpoint city of Fallujah, where government forces are fighting rebels who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda.
"Our forces refuse the use of unguided bombs, and there is no need to use such bombs." Ali al-Moussawi, top media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, said in a statement.
On Sunday, Sunni MP Leqaa Wardi claimed that government forces are using barrel bombs in shelling Fallujah. "The military operation in Fallujah has caused severe losses among civilians and army forces alike," she told Anadolu Agency.
Sheikh Mohamed al-Bagari, a spokesman for anti-government Sunni tribes in Fallujah, also said that thousands of residents have fled the violence-wracked city following barrel bomb shelling on their homes in several districts.
The use of explosive-laden barrels, which are much cheaper than missiles but inflict similar levels of destruction, have been widely reported in Syria, where regime forces are said to have used them against opposition-held areas.
According to Syrian opposition groups, the barrel bombs – usually filled with TNT, oil and metal shrapnel – have killed hundreds of people, especially in the countryside outside Damascus and Aleppo.
Since last December, the Iraqi army has waged a major offensive in the Sunni-majority Anbar province with the stated aim of flushing militants – who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda – out of the key cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, meanwhile, continue to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll.
Since the offensive began, hundreds have been killed and injured in Fallujah and Ramadi, according to government officials.
French foreign ministry official said that '147 heads of state and government are expected' at the highly-anticipated Conference of Parties
Bratislava intends to lodge the suit with the European Court of Justice, which adjudicates in disputes over how EU law is interpreted and applied
French President comes for talks with US President Obama on how to confront the threat posed by the ISIL group in the wake of the Paris attacks
Putin brands the downing by Turkey of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border a 'stab in the back' committed by 'accomplices of terrorists'
European and Pakistani officials are meeting to discuss the details of the procedure
Washington and Paris stepped up their fight against ISIL, with France launching its first strikes from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and the US calling for more international cooperation against the extremist group
Record number of complaints over story alleging one in five British Muslims had ‘sympathy for jihadis’ as it emerges that YouGov refused to carry out poll
Black Sea peninsula has been hit by power cuts since an explosion at the weekend cut power lines from Ukraine, which supplies 90 per cent of its electricity
A widely circulated picture of a woman taking a bath is not the reported suicide bomber in Paris.
Russian economy forecast to contract by minus 3.8 percent in 2015, improving to minus 0.6 percent in 2016, International Monetary Fund says
The US has issues a worldwide travel alert to remain in place until the end of February 2016.
The Israeli army has hit out at a Hamas military post in the Gaza Strip
David Cameron has revealed plans for more troops, aircraft and ships following a review of the UK defense and security plans
UN General Assembly's Third Committee has adopted a resolution urging international community to support Palestinian efforts for statehood
Soldiers in Brussels continue to monitor the streets as the Belgian government extends its terror alert