Reports in Iraqi media, that the operation on Mosul has already begun, appear to have been premature. However, security forces are standing ready for the operation and are waiting for the go ahead from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Also, leaflets have been dropped on the city, warning residents of the impending battle. Meanwhile, a Peshmerga commander says that U.S. forces have started shelling Islamic State positions around the city. Ahead of the operation, the militants have been transferring their wounded to Syria and releasing some prisoners. Families have also been sent on ahead.
Militants destroyed a hospital in Tal Afar before withdrawing from the city.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at a youth conference in Germany on Saturday. She suggested that plans are in the works to give Yazidis a protected area in northern Iraq.
At least 88 people were killed and 80 were wounded:
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber attacked a tent filled with Ashura pilgrims, killing 41 people. The tent was also a gathering point for mourners of a local resident. The location was in Shabb. At least 57 were wounded. Separately, a bomb in the Jihad district left five wounded.
In Qayara, airstrikes killed five militants and wounded seven more.
Security forces killed six militants in Rutba.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Seven U.S. Airmen Among 131 Killed in Iraq – March 16th, 2018
- U.S. Military Helicopter Crash; 63 Killed in Iraq – March 15th, 2018
- Mass Grave Found Near Kirkuk; 29 Killed in Iraq – March 14th, 2018
- Militiaman Shoots P.M.’s Security Officer; 32 Killed in Iraq – March 13th, 2018
- Scattered ISIS Attacks near Kirkuk; 54 Killed in Iraq – March 12th, 2018