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.
Nigeria have freed 20 women and children from the Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest.
The Burundi National Security Council has called for all protests to cease.
19 Malian soldiers have been captured by opposition soldiers in Mali.
The leaders of Turkish and Greek communities have put aside peace negotiations toured Lefkosa.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that today they were on the last stretch of negotiations that will release 7.2bn euro's to prevent bankruptcy
Anti-drug officers have raided the house of Kashamu Buruji, wanted by the US for drug related offenses.
The Congress of Journalists of the Turkic World will meet in Russia on May 26.
Germany's relations with the US intelligence NSA have apparently cooled after secret documents were leaked to the media by a German parliamentary committee.
Five asylum seekers from two boats have died off the Tunisia coast after the boats capsized.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that if Ukraine defaults, Russia will take a tough position against them, including defending any national interests.
A number of small towns and villages have been taken over by the al-Shabaab in southern Somalia.
The Bank of England has confirmed that it is researching all possible implications of a possible British EU exit.
Two people, including the senior transport officer in Mogadishu have been killed in a drive-by shooting.
Two provinces are now under state of emergency have clashes over a mining project turned violent.
After a campaign by teacher and student unions, the University of Helsinki has cancelled the G4S contract, followed by North Carolina also dropping their contract that provided security services in civic buildings which has now been replaced by a local company.
UN members have failed to agree on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East.