Most of the 294 killed today were militants. At least 84 other were wounded. There were two suicide bombings in a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad and another two bombings near a Shi’ite mosque in Kirkuk. Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama authorized humanitarian aid and airstrikes in Iraq.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to the American people tonight to explain the two-prong operation about to take place in Iraq.
He first said U.S. forces could engage in "targeted airstrikes" should Islamic State militants move towards Arbil or any U.S. facilities elsewhere in Iraq. Americans already in Iraq will continue to advise their Iraqi and Kurdish counterparts.
Secondly, a humanitarian effort to help the Yazidi people will certainly continue, at the Iraqi government’s request. Obama called that situation a potential "genocide" and "violence on a horrific scale."
Foremost, though, what the president wants is "reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces." He believes only that can provide a lasting solution for all Iraqis. He also promised that Americans would not be "dragged into another war" in Iraq.
A spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said some of the Yazidi people trapped near Sinjar have been rescued and supplies are in place to help them when they arrive at their next destination.
Turkey allowed about 150 Yazidis with passports cross the border today, but many more are waiting for permission. Turkey has already provided refuge to about one million Syrians. They also say they have airdropped supplies to the Yazidis on Sinjar Mountain. And, Turkish jets have been flying over the region to survey the situation.
Pope Francis called on world leaders to help Christians affected by the Islamic State.
Politicians were seen working late into the night to select Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki‘s successor. He still insisted on his right to stand for the post. A former American official, Ali Khedery, explained that “Maliki knows if he steps down, virtually he is a dead man” due to the long list of enemies he has made during his years as premier.
Joseph Thomas, who is the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk and Suleimaniyah, said residents left Qara Qosh, Tal Kief, Bartilla and Karamlesh to the militants.
Shelling in Falluja killed six civilians and wounded nine more.
Seventy militants were killed in Latifiya.
Airstrikes in Amerli left 60 militants dead.
Fifty militants were killed during airstrikes in Bashiqa.
In Saqlawiya, shelling left 45 militants dead.
Security forces killed seven militants in al-Sigar.
Tribesmen killed four gunmen in Iskandariya.
Three militants were killed in Karama.
In Jurf al-Sakhar, clashes left dozens of militants dead.
Clashes between Peshmerga and militants took place in Makhmour.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Elderly Shrine Tender Among Eight Killed in Iraq – February 16th, 2019
- More Truffle Gatherers Kidnapped; Four Killed in Iraq – February 15th, 2019
- Militia Convoy Attacked; 17 Killed in Iraq – February 14th, 2019
- Security Forces Rescue 30 Civilians; Three Killed in Iraq – February 13th, 2019
- 10 Bodies Found in Mass Grave; 3 Killed in Iraq – February 12th, 2019