Military forces denied targeting the hospital in Falluja with artillery strikes; however, the hospital was a favorite target for troops during the early stages of the Islamic State occupation of the city.
Sunni tribal fighters will be among the security forces that enter Falluja for the final battles, while Shi’ite forces are expected to remain on the outskirts of town. About 10,000 tribal fighters are already participating.
Although it has been difficult for Iraqis to flee Fallujah, it may be easier for them to escape the larger Mosul area. About 50,000 are expected to try to make it to Syria. Several hundred refugees have already made the journey.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani reiterated his pleas that security personnel take great care to not harm residents of Falluja.
At least 18 people were killed and 10 were wounded:
In Baghdad, security forces fired shots and tear gas to disperse protestors who had gathered at Tahrir Square. The government redeployed troops from Fallujah to Baghdad to handle the crowds. A bomb in Rashidiya wounded one person.
A bomb killed two people and wounded eight more in Madaen.
A roadside bomb in Imam Weis wounded a militiaman.
An airstrike on Qaim killed 10 militant leaders.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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- Turkey Bombs PKK Sites; Three Killed in Iraq – December 13th, 2018