Saturday, May 10, 2014

10 May 2014

Fallujah - where a major offensive by army, police, air force, local police, and SWAT teams was launched yesterday - is today the scene of fierce clashes on four fronts: from the north at Al-Sichir, from the south at Al-Nu'aimiya, from the west at the Fallujah barrage, and from the area of Fallujah University. Very loud explosions can still be heard, violent clashes are still raging, and random shelling of many of the city's residential districts is ongoing, as well as the northern areas adjacent to Al-Garma township. As of this afternoon, at least 14 people have been killed and at least 47 have been wounded as a result. The Fallujah General Hospital was again hit this morning by mortar fire which resulted in structural damage but there were no injuries reported.

The exodus of Fallujah's residents is still underway on a large scale, even after the departure yesterday of more than 1,000 families. There is, of course no transportation and these people are making their way on foot. In an ugly incident yesterday, an entire family consisting of 4 children, their parents, their grandmother, and the driver who was a relative, were killed at the Al-Maftoul crossing when the car in which they were traveling was targeted by mortar fire.

Reports are still indicating that there is a direct confrontation between the gunmen and the security forces surrounding Fallujah, but security sources are confirming that they have not made any headway against the fierce resistance by the ever-present gunmen. The sources are indicating that more time will be given in order to wear down the gunmen, thus enabling the military forces to overcome the armed groups within the city.

Following the announcement by the leader of the Anbar Governorate Council, Sabah Karhout, that the Fallujah barrage has been re-taken by government forces and that the Euphrates water levels are receding, but there is no indication of that claim on the ground. Initially, the river water had been redirected toward the Tharthar Lake beyond Fallujah, but there are still large areas of what has become marshland in Abu Ghraib and areas south of Fallujah and southern Al-Nu'aimiya. At least 16,000 people have been displaced by the flooding and the quagmires that have resulted. The resulting health hazard and the evil-smells has already been reported as having made many people sick with diarrhea. The lack of action by official agencies has left many angered and desperate people. Meanwhile, flood waters are still making their way toward Baghdad, but some experts are saying that the water will be diverted away from the capital.

In Ramadi, there have been some clashes in the city's southern sector, and groups of gunmen are still trying to establish positions within the city, hoping to alleviate the pressure on the gunmen in Fallujah. However, the level of the clashes is far below what is going on in Fallujah. Although there might still be a peaceful solution being sought, it is the military option that appears to be the only viable option.

Other Anbar regions have also experienced some security developments: the Rawa township in the west, which has been relatively quiet all along, experienced the detonation of two explosive devices that targeted an Iraqi Army patrol, killing 4 of the security personnel.

Al-Garma, the township northeast of Fallujah, is still completely surrounded and the town is fully blockaded; yesterday was one of the most violent days it has experienced; a leaked video clip has shown the dropping of the exploding drums that were dropped from the air onto the town. The electricity distribution center and a number of schools have been targeted and major damage has been inflicted on government buildings in the town as well as civilian dwellings. 11 people have been reported injured in Al-Garma in the operations that are still going on since last night.

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