Mounting Concerns for Fallujah Residents; 259 Killed in Iraq

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Mounting Concerns for Fallujah Residents; 259 Killed in Iraq

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani asked
the Iraqi government and the Shi’ite militias to be cautious while recapturing
Fallujah. He wants security forces to be careful around the many civilians
trapped in the city. Sistani is the leading Shi’ite cleric in Iraq. United
Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed the
organization’s similar concerns that the civilians there are in danger. Militia
leadership responded
by giving the militiamen a new set of instructions that include orders against
looting and torture.

Sair al-Bayati, a tribal leader in Suleiman Bag, said
that Shi’ite militias have kidnapped hundreds of Sunnis from the town and razed
their homes. The town was recaptured from Islamic State militants in 2014, but
the ongoing militia occupation
has prevented residents from returning. The Kurds also have a claim on the
area.

At least 259 people were killed and 62 were wounded:

The hospital in Fallujah reports
that 26 civilians and 17 militants have died since the launch of operations;
that is at least 19 more civilian deaths than previously reported. The hospital
is only reporting casualties that have arrived at the facility. More civilian
deaths have probably occurred.

About 35 security personnel
have been killed
in Fallujah since the launch as well. Security forces say
they killed 163
militants
during operations on Wednesday alone. Militants cut
the tongues of five members
who attempted to flee.

A bomb in Baghdad killed
two people and wounded six more
in the Karaghul neighborhood. A
blast in Tobji killed
one person and wounded seven more
. One
person was killed and seven were wounded
in a blast in Doura.

In Suleiman Bag, a suicide bomber killed two militiamen
and wounded six others
, including one civilian, on Sunday.

Fourteen
militants were killed
during the liberation of Sijar.

Security forces cleared Albu Hamad, near the Fallujah
Dam, and killed
13 militants
in the process.

Six
militants were killed
in a strike near Gwer

Peshmerga forces in Bashiqa killed two suicide
bombers
dressed as refugees.

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