By Nick Clark
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The people of Fallujah in Iraq fear the city’s ‘liberators’

This article is over 6 years, 1 months old
Issue 2509
 Fallujah in Iraq has been the site of bitter fighting between the Western-bracked Iraqi government and Isis
Fallujah in Iraq has been the site of bitter fighting between the Western-bracked Iraqi government and Isis (Pic: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

Thousands of people are fleeing the Iraqi city of Fallujah despite claims by the Iraqi government to have liberated it from Isis last Friday.

Around 30,000 people were reported to have fled the city last week. The United Nations believes over 80,000 people have left in recent weeks, with refugee camps struggling to cope.

The city was captured by Isis in 2014. Iraqi forces, backed by US and Australian air power, have been waging an assault on Fallujah for several weeks.

The army is still bombarding the city relentlessly despite the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped there.

Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which runs refugee camps in the area, said, “This comes after months of besiegement.

“They have been eating rotten dates and animal feed.”

A report by Human Rights Watch earlier this month said there were “credible allegations” of abuses by Iraqi forces during the fighting.

These include allegations of summary executions, beatings, disappearances and mutilation of corpses.

A number of people fleeing the city also claim to have been tortured by militias backed by the Iraqi government.

One of them, Abu Muhammad, said, “They would beat us with water pipes. They would take turns to torture us. My hands were tied behind my back, and one of the militants sat on my chest after he got tired of beating me.

“He just threw himself on me. I felt my ribs breaking. I screamed in pain. I spat blood. I asked for water, but I was denied even that.”

Israel approves more funding for settlements

The Israeli government has approved £12 million extra funding for illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the extra money was to “strengthen security”. But some of the money will also be for grants to build hotels in the settlements.

Settlements in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, are illegal under international law.

But Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

The funding comes as Israeli water company Mekerot cut water supplies to the West Bank. The city of Jenin, which has a population of 40,000, had its supply cut in half.

Human rights group Al-Haq has estimated that 50 percent of Palestinian water supplies are diverted to Israeli settlements in the summer months.

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