Following US airstikes
Explosions, fear of further strife, strike panic in Al-Qaim
AL-QAIM, Anbar – Panic and fear grip the residents of Al-Qaim, a district in northwest Anbar, following a series of American airstrikes and controlled explosions that rattled the area over the weekend. The airstrikes, which targeted positions held by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), resulted in civilian injuries and sparked widespread concern among the local population about the potential for further attacks.
In the Al-Sikak neighborhood, the aftermath of the Saturday morning airstrikes has led to many residents fleeing the area, with many fearing for their safety after the deadly bombings.
Mohammed Al-Jughayfi, a local citizen, expressed his distress, stating, “This is the second time in a few days that our area has been targeted, with this round of bombing being the most severe in years, claiming the lives of young people in the prime of their life.” Al-Jughayfi, along with others, is considering leaving the Al-Qaim district permanently in search of safer grounds.
A security source in Al-Qaim disclosed that immediate efforts were made to evacuate civilians from the Al-Sikak area as the aerial bombardment began, in an attempt to minimize casualties. “The bombing was intense, and we could not risk moving people until it ceased. We provided all possible assistance, fearing a repeat of the strikes,” the source explained.
The situation was further exacerbated on Saturday evening when explosions were heard in the south of Al-Amin neighborhood, causing widespread panic. Initially feared to be another airstrike, security forces later clarified that the blasts were controlled detonations of remnants from ISIS, aimed at neutralizing leftover explosive devices. Despite the clarification, the intensity of the explosions and the lack of prior warning left residents terrified.
Walid Hussein, a resident of Al-Amin neighborhood, described the atmosphere, saying, “Fear spread among the citizens due to the events, and today, upon hearing the explosions, everyone was terrified because of their intensity.” Another resident highlighted the psychological toll, noting that any loud noise now triggers a state of terror, with people rushing to their rooftops to locate the source of the bombing.
The security source offered reassurance to the community, urging residents to remain cautious but not to be swayed by malicious rumors. “The sounds heard today were controlled explosions as we were detonating a number of explosive devices left behind by ISIS,” the source stated, emphasizing that safety measures are in place to handle the remnants of conflict securely and that everything is under control.