At least 60 civilians died and another 297 were wounded over the past five days in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, where government forces are fighting extremists linked to al-Qaeda, medical officials said Saturday.
The Medical Center of the western province of Anbar, operated by the Iraqi Health Ministry, said in a communique that all the victims were civilians, and included women and children.
The victims died or were wounded in gunfire and bombings by Iraqi forces, which launched an operation to drive out suspected members of the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in those cities of Anbar Province.
That province has been the scene in recent weeks of clashes between government forces, armed tribal clans and members of the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, Anbar security officials told a local Iraqi news agency that the number of civilians killed had climbed to 380 because of fighting in the province.
Those sources said that many inhabitants were forced to bury family members in public parks because of the danger of moving about in those cities.
They also said that a significant number of armed men from the tribes, along with civilians, were killed by "friendly fire" of troops shooting at groups they confused with al-Qaeda.
The commander of the Special Operations Division, Fadhel al-Barwari, said Saturday that his troops killed 28 suspected terrorists of the Islamic State as they were occupying a building in the Malaab area on the north side of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar.
Iraqi police with the aid of tribal militiamen on Friday regained control of Malaab and the Fursan neighborhood, also in Ramadi. EFE