At least 60 Iraqis killed in 2 weeks of violence

BAGHDAD — Fighting between security forces and al-Qaida-linked militants in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province has killed at least 60 people over the past two weeks, an official said Saturday.

The head of Anbar’s Health Directorate, Khudeir Shalal, said that 43 people were killed in the city of Ramadi and other 17 were killed in Fallujah since violence erupted in the western province after the Dec. 28 arrest of a Sunni lawmaker sought on terrorism charges and the dismantling of an anti-government Sunni protest camp in Ramadi.

Shalal said a total of 297 people were wounded in both cities. He was unable to provide a breakdown of how many of the dead were combatants and how many might have been civilians caught in the fighting. He said Iraqi military casualties were not included.

At least 50 civilians and militants were killed during the military operations in Anbar during the past two weeks, according to an Associated Press count.

International observers have warned of shortages of food, fuel and other necessities, particularly in Fallujah. United Nations records show that more than 11,000 families have been uprooted by the fighting.

Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribesmen have been battling militants to recapture the cities, partially seized by fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

On Friday night, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning the Ramadi and Fallujah attacks and praised Iraqi security forces, local police and tribes in Anbar combating them.

Al-Qaida militants, emboldened by the civil war in neighboring Syria, have sought to position themselves as the champions of Sunnis against the Shiite-led government, though major Sunni tribes in Anbar and elsewhere oppose the group’s extremist ideology and are fighting against it.

During a political gathering in Baghdad on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for national unity among Iraqis in the war against al-Qaida, denying that there are sectarian motivations behind the military action in Anbar.

“It is your war, all of you (Iraqis) whether you like or not. … It is not the war of a specific group. It is the war of all sects, ethnic groups, religions and partners in this country. The fire will reach everybody,” al-Maliki said.

Saturday afternoon, police and hospital officials said one gunman was killed and three were wounded during sporadic clashes between Iraqi soldiers and militants in the eastern edge of Fallujah. Also, five people were wounded when a mortar shell landed on their house in Fallujah, officials said.

The violence continued elsewhere in the country as well. Gunmen killed two police officers manning a security checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, police and hospital officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to journalists.

More in Local News

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Police: He made an appointment, then tried to rob the bank

A lawyer is accused of donning a fake beard and telling a teller that a gunman was outside.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

In adult court, four teens plead not guilty to murder

Prosecutors allege they worked together to plan and execute a drug robbery in Everett.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Most Read