Army shells Iraq's Fallujah, killing 24

BAGHDAD – At least 24 people were killed and dozens injured when the Iraqi army shelled areas of Fallujah in the western Anbar province, army and medical sources said Tuesday.

At least five civilians were killed and 25 injured on Tuesday when army artillery and mortar shells struck residential areas across the violence-wracked city, Fallujah General Hospital spokesman Wesam al-Essawi told Anadolu Agency.

According to al-Essawi, the army shelling was "the most violent" in weeks.

The Iraqi government has yet to comment on al-Essawi's assertions.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi army said 19 militants affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which Baghdad claims is linked to Al-Qaeda, were killed and 27 others injured when two of the group's sites in Fallujah were struck during Tuesday's shelling.

Among those killed were senior ISIL leaders, according to a statement by the joint operations command in Baghdad, which failed to mention when the shelling took place.

Since last December, the Iraqi army has waged a major operation in the Sunni-majority Anbar province with the stated aim of flushing militants out of the key cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

In the four months since, hundreds have been killed and injured in the two cities, according to government officials.

Local Sunni tribes, meanwhile, continue to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll.

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