World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday pledged to return displaced Iraqis to their homes in the western Anbar province before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which is set to start later this month.
In his weekly televised address, al-Maliki called on the Anbar residents to take the initiative to "uproot terrorism" so that displaced families can return to their homes.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar.
Anbar has been stricken by gory tension for several months now initially between Sunni residents complaining of marginalization and the government.
The Iraqi army has launched a military offensive into the province to flush out rebels belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Since the military offensive began last December, hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured and thousands displaced, according to government officials.
Al-Maliki, whose term came to an end a few weeks ago, said his government would rebuild districts destroyed by ISIL rebels in the Anbar province.
16 rebels killed in Fallujah
The Iraqi army announced on Wednesday killing 16 members of the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Fallujah, a major city in the western province of Anbar.
"Our artillery bombed an ISIL site in a residential area of Fallujah killing 16 militants," Anbar Operations Chief Maj. Gen. Rashid Feleih told Anadolu Agency.
Fallujah has remained largely inaccessible to Iraqi security forces since ISIL rebels – who the government claims are linked to al-Qaeda – seized control of the city last December.
For over a week, government forces have stepped up their months-long operation in Fallujah, where they have managed to reassert control over several districts.
"Military operations against the terrorist group are continuing and we shall be able to finish them soon," Feleih said.Last Mod: 05 Haziran 2014, 09:49