During Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery, U.S. President Barack Obama admitted that three U.S. servicemembers have given their lives in “combat” in Iraq and then spoke about them.
Iraqi special forces pushed into Fallujah from its southern flank on Monday. The fighting will be slow but possibly fierce as the estimated 500-700 Islamic State militants in the city have no way to escape. They may hole up in secret tunnels. Snipers and suicide bombers have already been reported. Also, troops expect to find the city covered in booby-traps.
Over the last several days, Iraqi forces encircled Fallujah, and cleared militants out of its suburbs and farmlands. A few civilians who were able to escape the fighting trickled in to Amiriyat al-Fallujah, just to the south. Others headed east towards Garma.
Fighting is ongoing in Saqlawiya, while the town of Nuaimiya was recaptured.
At least 259 people were killed and 121 were wounded:
A suicide bomber at a checkpoint in Baghdad’s Shabb district killed eight civilians and three soldiers, and also wounded 20 people. According to other reports, another 11 were killed in the attack. Another bomb killed two people and wounded nine more in Jisr Diyala.
A motorcycle bomb killed three people and wounded 10 more at a market in Sadr City.
At the front lines in Khazar, four Peshmerga troops were killed and 34 were wounded. Nine villages were recaptured. Members of Iraq’s Shabak and Kakai minorities had inhabited these villages before Daesh took them over. Also, about 140 militants were killed.
Two children were killed and 21 others were wounded during a chemical attack on Zammar.
A bomb in the Hamrin Hills killed two militiamen and wounded three more.
During yesterday’s assault on Hit, in which Iraqi authorities say no security personnel died, 33 suicide bombers were killed.
Thirty militants were killed during an operation that liberated Albu Shejil.
In Fallujah, Daesh doctors euthanized eight militants who were wounded.
Security forces near Fallujah killed a militant known for being an explosives officer.