Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the Falluja frontlines personally and announced that troops had made more progress than expected. So far the fight has focused on the outskirts of the city and in nearby towns and other areas. An agricultural area in Garma was recaptured, and troops advanced into Nuaimiya. Saqlawiya appears to be in Iraqi hands as well. Several smaller villages were also retaken.
The mayor of Falluja warned that 50,000 residents are still in the city; some estimates are closer to 100,000 people. Local tribes report that the majority of Islamic State militants in Anbar are foreigners.
At least 164 people were killed and 38 were wounded:
A source at the Falluja medical center said that seven civilians were killed and 21 were wounded during shelling; two militants were killed and two were wounded in the same attack. Three people were killed trying to escape the city. At least 39 more militants were killed in various locations and four were wounded; among them was the militant governor of Falluja. The number of casualties is likely higher.
Forty militants were killed during operations in Garma.
Security forces killed 14 militants in Nuaimiya.
In Baghdad, a bomb in the Iskan district killed one person and wounded eight more.
Three former Iraqi officers were executed in Qayara.
Gunmen wounded two people in Iskandariya.
A strike on Hud left 21 militants dead.
As many as 15 militants were killed in strikes on the Hamrin Hills.
Eleven militants were killed in Albu Aitha and Albu Faraj.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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