Shi’ite militias have pulled back from the Tikrit operation. The army’s special forces and federal police are now leading the final push on the city instead. The drawdown was a condition for U.S. airstrikes, as was the demand for a coherent plan of attack. Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, said the militias were undermining the operation.
The militias, in turn, claimed they were abandoning the fight over U.S. involvement. The Minister of Transportation and top militia commander, Hadi al-Amiri, demanded that the airstrikes stop so his forces can achieve victory alone. On the other hand, the militias have no apparent issues using American equipment.
Militiamen have also been accused of burning homes and kidnapping civilians in retaken territories around Tikrit, even as this operation stalled for lack of enough fighters. Despite the allegations, Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qayis Khizali claims that it is the Kurds who are driving a wedge between Sunni and Shi’ite Arabs in Iraq.
At least 209 were killed and 26 were wounded.
Military artillery fire killed six civilians and wounded 23 more in Falluja. Nine militants were killed in a clash.
An I.E.D. at a home in Ishaqi left seven civilians dead.
Gunmen killed three civilians at a home near Abbara.
In Baghdad, two dumped bodies were found. Gunmen killed a civilian.
A former army colonel was shot dead at his Muqdadiya home.
In Zaghniya, a roadside bomb killed a woman.
A clash in Tuz left one security member dead. A militant was also killed, and another was wounded.
A bomb wounded two servicemembers in Jurf al-Sakhar.
Airstrikes left 150 militants dead in Mosul.
In Tikrit, 28 militants were killed in airstrikes.