The city of Fallujah remains under control of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and was the site of heavy shelling and sporadic air strikes by the Iraqi military today, with at least seven killed and 42 wounded.
The only confirmed casualties so far were civilians, and there has been no indication of how many AQI fighters have been hit in the strike, if indeed any have been.
The big concern is not the air strikes, but rather the Iraqi military, which has the city cordoned off and is expected to launch a ground invasion at some time soon.
Iraqi officials say there is “no deadline” set for an invasion, and they haven’t green lit any ground invasions of the city, but with efforts by Sunni tribal leaders to convince AQI to leave stalled, the sense is that invasion is coming sooner rather than later.
Most of the locals oppose AQI’s presence in their city, but Fallujah was also in open revolt against the Maliki government before AQI arrived, so a protracted opposition to the military invasion is to be expected.