Local hospital sources said air strikes hit a busy tailor’s market in the town of al-Qaim, an Islamic State-held town in Iraq’s Anbar province, killing 55 civilians including 12 women and 19 children, in three air strikes. The bodies of eight militants were delivered to Qaim hospital morgue.
Anbar MP Ahmed al-Salmani also said 55 civilians were killed. Another MP, Mohammed Karbouli, told Reuters that 60 people had been killed, including some of his relatives. Robert Cusack reports that those killed were among a queue of people waiting to receive government pensions and salaries from a municipal office.
Karbouli said it raised questions about the accuracy of intelligence used to target Islamic State fighters, and Salmani demanded that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stop the bombing and hold accountable the perpetrators of this massacre.
Islamic State’s news agency Amaq released footage showing what it said was the aftermath of the strikes it blamed on Iraq’s air force. It showed burning vehicles on a wide main road lined by shops. Corpses, some charred and others bloodied, could be seen on the street, and the bodies of several children were also shown. Several buildings had been wrecked.
A BBC report adds that the US-led multinational coalition supporting the Iraqi government in its fight against IS has also carried out air strikes around al-Qaim.
An official in Anbar, who asked not to be identified, said “Killing dozens of civilians only to target a handful of terrorists is clearly a massacre against innocent civilians.”