UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday strongly condemned recent attacks committed by al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq's western province of Anbar, reaffirming the need to combat terrorism by all means.
"The Security Council deplores in the strongest terms the recent events in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province in Iraq," said a presidential statement read by Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zedi Al-Hussein, the permanent representative of Jordan to the UN who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body for January, at an emergent public meeting on the situation in Iraq.
"The Security Council condemns the attacks that are being perpetrated by al-Qaida affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), against the people of Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country and region," said the statement.
In the statement, the Council said that Iraqi security forces and local police, "whose members are being targeted and killed in ongoing attacks by terrorists," are showing "great courage" as they fight to defeat ISIL in their cities.
The Security Council called on the people of Iraq to continue, expand and strengthen their cooperation in fighting against violence and terror, and expressed its strong support for the continued efforts of the Iraqi government to help meet the security needs in Iraq.
According to earlier reports, fierce clashes continued between Iraqi security forces backed by Sunni tribes and al-Qaida militants around major cities in the volatile Anbar province in western Iraq.
Friday's battles in eastern Ramadi led to killings of at least two civilians and wounding seven others.
The Security Council also reaffirmed "the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice," and urged all states to cooperate actively with Iraqi authorities in this regard.
"The Security Council reaffirms the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed," the statement said.
Expressing concern about the impact of the violence on civilians, the Council reiterated that "no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Iraq, which is supported by the people and the government of Iraq and the international community."
The most powerful UN body also stressed the critical importance of "continued national dialogue and unity, an inclusive political process, the holding of free and fair elections in April 2014," saying that "this is vital to underpin a unified national stance against terrorism, and to ensure Iraq's long-term security."
Anbar province has been the scene of fierce clashes that flared up after Iraqi police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi in late December. A counter-terrorism force captured four al-Qaida leaders Thursday morning along the borders of Anbar province, according to local news reports.
Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed last year, the highest annual death toll for years.
Fierce clashes persist between Iraqi army and al-Qaida militants
RAMADI, Iraq, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Fierce clashes continued between Iraqi security forces backed by Sunni tribes and al-Qaida militants in and near major cities in the volatile Anbar province in western Iraq, a provincial police source said on Friday.
Gunmen attacked the Iraqi army positions on a highway just east of the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, erupting fierce clashes, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Full story