Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani asked the Iraqi government and the Shi’ite militias to be cautious while recapturing Fallujah. He wants security forces to be careful around the many civilians trapped in the city. Sistani is the leading Shi’ite cleric in Iraq. United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed the organization’s similar concerns that the civilians there are in danger. Militia leadership responded by giving the militiamen a new set of instructions that include orders against looting and torture.
Sair al-Bayati, a tribal leader in Suleiman Bag, said that Shi’ite militias have kidnapped hundreds of Sunnis from the town and razed their homes. The town was recaptured from Islamic State militants in 2014, but the ongoing militia occupation has prevented residents from returning. The Kurds also have a claim on the area.
At least 259 people were killed and 62 were wounded:
The hospital in Fallujah reports that 26 civilians and 17 militants have died since the launch of operations; that is at least 19 more civilian deaths than previously reported. The hospital is only reporting casualties that have arrived at the facility. More civilian deaths have probably occurred.
About 35 security personnel have been killed in Fallujah since the launch as well. Security forces say they killed 163 militants during operations on Wednesday alone. Militants cut the tongues of five members who attempted to flee.
A bomb in Baghdad killed two people and wounded six more in the Karaghul neighborhood. A blast in Tobji killed one person and wounded seven more. One person was killed and seven were wounded in a blast in Doura.
Fourteen militants were killed during the liberation of Sijar.
Security forces cleared Albu Hamad, near the Fallujah Dam, and killed 13 militants in the process.
Six militants were killed in a strike near Gwer
Peshmerga forces in Bashiqa killed two suicide bombers dressed as refugees.