Heavy shelling with both rockets and artillery fire continued today in the Anbar Province, as the Iraqi military prepared for a planned ground invasion of the city of Fallujah.
Though casualties on the ground there are difficult to confirm, Iraq put today’s toll at 57, all of them “Islamist militants” affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and killed on the outskirts of Ramadi and Fallujah.
Military officials say that an invasion of Fallujah could happen at any moment, and they continue to wait for final word from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. One top official added that “the time for talking ran out.”
After AQI seized Fallujah last week, Maliki indicated his government was willing to wait as long as necessary for the locals to expel al-Qaeda, but within a couple of weeks the military began attacking the outskirts, and is now planning a full-scale ground invasion of the city of 200,000.