UN worried about Falluja civilians

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations expressed concern about some 50,000 people still in Falluja as Iraqi Government forces clashed with Islamic State militants near the city, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced the launching of an offensive to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Falluja after the military told residents to leave before fighting started.

“We’re very concerned about the fate of the civilians that remain in Falluja as the military operations are undertaken,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“Our estimate is that there are around 50,000 civilians in Falluja,” he said.

“The humanitarian situation obviously remains very fluid.”

The UN estimate of 50,000 civilians in Falluja is lower than an Iraqi figure, and slightly below a recent US military estimate of 60,000 to 90,000. About 300,000 people lived in the Euphrates River city before the current war.

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