Militias carry out 'revenge' attacks in Iraq's Fallujah

Militias carry out 'revenge' attacks in Iraq's Fallujah
Popular Mobilisation militias fighting in and around Fallujah have reportedly carried out 'revenge' attacks against local civilians.
3 min read
23 July, 2015
The government-backed Shia Militias are still stationed in the outskirts of Fallujah [Getty]
Popular Mobilisation militias have not withdrawn from the areas around the city of Fallujah in Anbar province after they failed to recapture the city from the Islamic State group [IS]. The unofficial military standstill has allowed for the militias to carry out attacks against civilians, locals say.

Sheikh Abdallah al-Dhiabi, a member of the Anbar Tribal Council, told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "The Popular Mobilisation militias rallied all their forces around Fallujah to try and recapture it, but they weren't able to do that.

"The militias still haven't withdrawn from around the city, even though the military operations have stopped but they have carried on their attacks against civilians and generally wreaking havoc," the sheikh added.

Dhiabi said the militias were trying to take revenge for their defeat in Fallujah by punishing the unarmed locals.

"Tens of civilians are being killed every day because of the ever increasing daily mortar, rocket and barrel bomb attacks," he said.

Dhiabi said the militias have said they would open safe passageways for civilians to exit the city - but those ways have been shelled and civilians have been prevented from leaving the city.

Suhaib al-Rawi, the governor of Anbar, recently said on television: "We have told Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about all of these violations and he confirmed to us in official writing that he was aware of them."

The governor also said that, as of yet, no actions have been taken against the militias by the government.

"The military operations in Fallujah were not ideal and not at the required level," Rawi added.

Ibtihal al-Zaidi is the head of the Hayat Human Rights organisation.

"The government has continued to not speak out against the militias' terrible attacks that have killed civilians and destroyed Iraqi property," she said.

Zaidi's NGO has been reporting on the ongoing attacks by the Popular Mobilisation militias in the Fallujah region.

"Tens of children are being made disabled and disfigured every day in addition to the people that are being killed in the ongoing indiscriminate shelling of the city," she said.

"The fighting has stopped in Fallujah, so there is no need for the militias to stay there. Abadi must tell them to move out. Their presence there suggests they are trying to take revenge against unarmed civilians in the plain sight of the government which is turning a blind eye to all of this."

She said the international community could no longer stay neutral on the sidelines looking on at these attacks and ignoring them, such as the government is doing.

The government deployed most of its security forces to the fighting in Fallujah last month, even though the fighting has come to an end the troops and the Popular Mobilisation militias are still stationed in the province, leading to the lack of security in Baghdad.