Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Fallujah on Friday, even though there is still fighting left to do. Troops were able to reach the center of the city and raise the Iraqi flag at a government building. Witness say the militants announced over loudspeakers that civilians were free to go and then recalled fighters from checkpoints. Thousands of refugees began the journey. Some civilians were allowed to leave only if they took the militants’ families with them.
General Talib Shaghati Mshari al-Kenani, head of Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism service, said that he believes fleeing militants were likely on their way to Mosul, where they may face great resistance. The general is in contact with civilians inside Mosul who are preparing for an internal uprising when security forces finally reach the city.
At least 52 were killed and eight more were wounded:
At least two refugees were killed by a mine while trying to leave Fallujah.
In Baghdad, security forces killed three militants and wounded two more.
Clashes in Sinjar left 18 militants dead.
Fifteen militants were killed in airstrikes on Mosul.
Strikes left 13 militants dead in Qayara.