May 16 2012
By Hassan al-Hili
Azzaman, May 16, 2012
Iraq’s Falluja has been placed under strict curfew following an upsurge in violent attacks blamed on the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda.
In the latest attack at least 24 people were either killed or injured, a security source said, adding that more sporadic attacks were reported in different parts of the city.
The curfew has blocked the four major roads leading to the city, home to about half a million people.
“It is total curfew in which even people are not allowed to leave their homes,” the source, refusing to be named, said.
Falluja was once al-Qaeda’s major stronghold in Iraq and the city that tenaciously defined the mighty U.S. army.
The U.S. failed to spread its full control over the city despite one large offensive that saw its inhabitants fleeing and large portions of it destroyed.
Iraqi authorities gave no reason for the surge in violence which has relatively receded recently across the country.
The government says the core of Iraq’s al-Qaeda has migrated to Syria where major car bombings have taken place, mainly in the capital Damascus.
But authorities in the Province of Anbar of which Falluja is a major city say al-Qaeda has been weakened and latest attacks are not a signal of its resurgence,
Mohammed Hantoush, the provincial spokesperson, said the security forces had defused several bombs in and were heavily present in the city.
“The security forces have taken tough measures across Falluja in anticipation of further attacks. The situation is under control,” Hantoush said.
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