By Suleiman al-Qubeisi and Ibrahim Saleh
BAGHDAD (AA) - At least 31 civilians including women and children were killed late Friday in the shelling of the western Iraqi city of Fallujah by a pro-government militia, a local tribal leader said.
Sheikh Majid al-Jerisi told Anadolu Agency another 27 were injured in the attack by al-Hashd al-Shaabi, a Shia Muslim force fighting alongside government troops in a bid to retake the city, 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the west of Baghdad, from Daesh.
“Al-Hashd al-Shaabi fiercely shelled three neighborhoods including al-Tharthar in northern Fallujah, inhabited by thousands of civilians, mostly women and children,” al-Jerisi said.
On Thursday, he issued a statement claiming the group had executed 17 civilians by a firing squad in al-Karma, a city to the northeast of Fallujah.
Earlier in the week, UNICEF called for safe passage for Fallujah residents and said at least 20,000 children were at risk due to fighting in the city, which fell to Daesh in early 2014. Pro-government forces launched an operation to retake Fallujah last month.
Meanwhile, in Baghdad, seven people were killed and 28 injured Friday when improvised bombs went off in the neighborhoods of Ur, al-Ubedy, al-Amiriyah, al-Doura and al-Bueitha area. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings.