Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed punitive legal action against television networks that disseminate erroneous and misleading reports in support of the Daesh terror group.
Addressing the nation in a live broadcast late on Saturday, Abadi offered a fierce criticism of satellite television channels promoting Daesh and evoking sympathy for the Takfiri terrorists.
He said Iraq would seek harsh punishment against them at an international court of law.
Abadi said some dormant “propaganda” cells have started propping up Daesh ever since the operation to liberate the western city of Fallujah got underway on May 23.
These satellite channels, some of them based in Iraq, support Daesh, the premier said, warning that false reporting will cost the loss of civilian lives.
The warning comes amid a government offensive to retake Fallujah in preparation for the recapture of Iraq’s second city of Mosul from Daesh.
Saudi-funded Al Arabiya and Qatar’s Al Jazeera often file disparaging reports about Iraq’s military offensives.
Last Tuesday, the Iraqi prime minister’s office called on some Arab-language media outlets to refrain from pursuing a policy of sedition and publishing distorted images and news stories.
Writing on his Facebook page, Egyptian journalist, television presenter and interviewer on Al Jazeera Ahmed Mansour recently wished Daesh success in its battle against Iraqi government troops.
Mansour, labeling the terrorists as “courageous Fallujah residents,” wrote that the extremists would eventually prevail over Iraqi forces.
Iraqis closing in on Fallujah
On Saturday, Anbar Liberation Operations Commander Major General Ismail al-Mahlawi said 27 Daesh Takfiris were killed in Albu Hawi region, south of Fallujah, when Iraqi security forces repelled a militant offensive.
Later in the day, warplanes from the US-led military coalition pounded two militant hideouts in the same Iraqi area, killing 14 Daesh members.
Humanitarian aid groups and residents say Daesh has trapped around 50,000 civilians, including 20,000 children, in Fallujah, threatening those who try to escape with death.
Reports coming out of the area also say the terrorists are using the residents of Fallujah as human shields to slow down the advance of Iraqi armed forces.
The Iraqi prime minister says safe corridors have been established to allow some civilians to flee.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh launched an offensive in the country in June 2014, and took control of portions of the Iraqi territory.