Government denies use of barrel bombs

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By Mohammed al-Salehi

Azzaman, June 1, 2014

The Ministry of Defense has denied reports that its warplanes and helicopter gunships were using barrel bombs in Falluja and other areas in the restive Province of Anbar.

The ministry said the reports were fabricated and forged by the Iraq-based Jihadist group ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It said the group, which has infiltrated Iraq from Syria, was using barrel bombs it confiscated from the weapons depots it had captured from the Syrian army and blaming Iraqi troops for their deployment.

“ISIS has used so many fabricated pieces of evidence to distort the reputation of the Iraqi army,” a Defenses Ministry source, refusing to be named, said.

“ISIS (militants) have brought with them a great number of barrel bombs, some of which they were turning into explosive charges and others for targeting Iraqi security forces and then blaming the Iraqi army for using them,” the source added.

“The Iraqi army and Iraqi security forces have not imported such weapons or used them because they are internationally banned and Iraq itself is under strict supervision from international quarters,” the source said.

In its report, Human Rights Watch said Iraqi troops were using barrels bombs which it considered a crime against humanity. However, the group also accused ISIS militants of committing such crimes.

The Province of Anbar, which is the largest in area among Iraq’s 18 provinces, has been the scene of ferocious fighting in the past three months when large numbers of ISIS militants poured into the country from Syria, occupying part of the provincial capital of Anbar and the strategic town of Falluja.