At least 31 people were killed and more than 80 were wounded during a three-day bombardment by the Iraqi troops of Fallujah; an Iraqi city that remains under the control of the Islamic State since last year, CNN reports.
Iraqi forces reportedly continuously pounded the city with heavy artilleries on the ground assisted by the US-led coalition airstrikes since Friday until Sunday; with the bomb raids killing 14 people on its final day and destroying a mosque on Al Dahi and two warehouses believed to be what the militants have been using as weapons cache.
CNN sources said among the dead and the wounded are women and children. A separate report from Middle East Eye website said the city’s Fallujah Hospital spokesman, Ahmed al-Shami, confirmed they received 19 dead bodies over the period of 72 hours plus 76 wounded victims including 15 women and 17 children.
The number reportedly did not include casualties from the part of ISIS militants.
The Iraqi government also reported about destroying eight suicide car bombs believed to belong to the extremist group in their relentless attacks.
The operation is part of an ongoing campaign of the Iraqi troops, aided by Shia paramilitaries, to retake majority of the area surrounding the Anbar province where Fallujah and Ramadi is located. While Ramadi fell to ISIS just more than a week ago, Fallujah had been in the control of the ISIS under its self-proclaimed caliphate since January 2014.
More than 100,000 civilians were reportedly trapped inside Fallujah and the surrounding villages. Since the city’s fall to the Shia militants, there are 2,839 people believed to be killed in the fighting including 360 children and 211 women. At least 4,704 more were reportedly wounded in the ongoing conflict.
The anti-ISIS US-led coalition forces have launched 22 airstrikes over the weekend since Friday; with 16 of them targeting ISIS-held territories in Baghdad, Bayji, Fallujah, Hit, Kirkuk, Mosul, Ramadi, Sinjar and Tal Afar, all in Iraq.
Six more air raids were conducted targeting establishments housing ISIS militants in Al Hasakah, Dayr Az Zawr and Kobani in Syria.