In Fallujah today, security forces have strengthened their stranglehold on the city’s perimeter. The city had been subjected to intensive bombardment since dawn yesterday, throughout the day, and on into the early hours of this morning. Security forces are increasing their state of readiness, amid reports that this is in fact the start of the military operation, but these reports were denied. The liberation assault on the city is now reported as being imminent. Military reinforcements have also been deployed around the city, while air strikes have been targeting ISIL positions within the city. People’s Mobilization fighters have also been deployed, and two of their commanders – Hadi Al-Amiry and Mehdi Al-Muhandis – have also arrived to take part in the ground offensive on the city. However, heavy mortar and rocket fire has struck a number of the city’s residential districts, causing large numbers of civilian casualties. The General Hospital reported today that 17 residents have been killed, including 4 women and 5 children, and 19 have been injured by the bombardment.
In Ramadi, security forces are poised for a major assault that could coincide with the assault on Fallujah; Iraqi air support has again been striking targets and positions around and within the city, specifically to the east of the city and in its southern sector.
In Saqlawiya, security forces have announced their complete control of the southwestern areas of the township west of Fallujah.
In Garma, fierce fighting is continuing for the control of the town center, while the township’s surroundings have all been liberated.