Islamic State mortar attack kills schoolchildren in Iraq town

Islamic State mortar attack kills schoolchildren in Iraq town
Dozens of civilians were killed and injured in an Islamic State militant attack on a town in the Anbar province where government forces launched an operation on Monday.
2 min read
16 May, 2016
Several residential areas have been attacked by militants in the Anbar province [AFP]

At least 6 people were killed, including students from a local school, when the Islamic State group launched an attack in Iraq’s al-Khalidiyah, local sources confirmed.

Twenty-six other civilians were injured when militants fired mortars and Katyusha rockets in the eastern Ramadi town, a senior security official told The New Arab.

“Twenty-four missiles, launched by Daesh militants located in the al-Jazeera town west of the Euphrates River, struck civilian homes, a market and a school in al-Khalidiyah,” the official said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

“The toll is expected to rise due to the critical cases of those wounded in the attack,” chairman of al-Khalidiyah, Ali Dawud told The New Arab adding “security forces in the city began an extensive plan to locate rocket launchers in the al-Khalidiya area to respond to the sources of fire."

The news comes as Iraqi forces prepared to launch a large-scale military operation to retake the strategic town of Rutba in the Anbar province from IS on Monday.

The military operation which took off early in the morning, was led by the Iraqi security forces, local police, the counter-terrorism forces and allied tribesmen, Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

Rutba, located in western Anbar province along the main road to Jordan, has been held by the militant group since 2014.

The town is a strategic route to other territories held by the group, member of the allied tribesmen Mansour al-Mahlawi told The New Arab.

But the fight will be tough as IS militants planted mines and explosives on the town's outskirts, Mahlawi added.

In recent weeks, militants stepped up bombing campaigns including three in Baghdad, killing nearly 100 people.

The militant group had overrun large areas north and west of Baghdad in June 2014, making further advances in Anbar and seizing its capital Ramadi in 2015.