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Al Jazeera: Iraq army assault under way to eject al-Qaeda

Al Jazeera: Iraq army assault under way to eject al-Qaeda

5 January 2014 | 23:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. An operation is under way to drive hardline fighters out of Iraq's Anbar province, with an aerial assault by government forces hitting east of Fallujah, and clashes between the Iraqi army and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) near Ramadi leaving many dead.
Iraqi officials said fighting between the army and al-Qaeda-linked rebels near the provincial capital of Ramadi left at least 34 people dead on Sunday, including 22 soldiers and 12 civilians, Al Jazeera learnt.
The officials also said 58 people were wounded in the clashes, along with an unknown number of anti-government fighters.
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Iraq readying 'major attack' to retake Fallujah

Iraq readying 'major attack' to retake Fallujah

5 January 2014 | 14:51 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. Iraq is preparing a "major attack" to retake militant-held Fallujah, a senior official said Sunday, spelling a new assault for the city, west of Baghdad, where US forces repeatedly battled insurgents, AFP informed.
Washington said it would help Baghdad in its battle against Al-Qaeda-linked militants but that there would be no return of US troops.
The takeover of Fallujah and parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, is the first time that militants have exercised such open control in major cities since the height of the bloody insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.
"Iraqi forces are preparing for a major attack in Fallujah," a senior Iraqi official told AFP.
Special forces have already conducted operations inside the city, the official said.
The regular army has paused on the edge of the city to allow residents time to leave, awaiting orders to launch "the attack to crush the terrorists".
Fallujah is in the hands of fighters of the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a senior security official said on Saturday.
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US condemns 'barbarism' by Qaeda fighters in Iraq

US condemns 'barbarism' by Qaeda fighters in Iraq

4 January 2014 | 22:09 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The United States on Saturday said it was closely watching developments in Iraq's Anbar province, where militants have taken control of Fallujah, condemning Al-Qaeda-linked fighters for committing "barbarism,” AFP reported.
Iraq has been fiercely battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since Monday, when security forces broke up an anti-government protest camp near Ramadi set up after demonstrations erupted in late 2012 against what Sunni Arabs say is the marginalisation and targeting of their community.
The violence then spread to Fallujah, and a subsequent withdrawal of security forces from areas of both cities cleared the way for militants to move in.
The fighting has been brutal, with more than 100 people killed on Friday alone, Iraq's deadliest single day in years.
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Fallujah outside Iraq govt control

Fallujah outside Iraq govt control

4 January 2014 | 11:47 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. The Iraqi government has lost control of the city of Fallujah, which is now held by Al-Qaeda-linked militants, a senior security official in Anbar province said on Saturday, AFP informed.
"Fallujah is under the control of ISIL," the official said, referring to Al-Qaeda-linked group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Parts of Ramadi and Fallujah, west of Baghdad, have been held by militants for days, harkening back to the years after the 2003 US-led invasion when both cities were insurgent strongholds.
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Clashes kill 32 civilians in Iraq's Anbar

Clashes kill 32 civilians in Iraq's Anbar

3 January 2014 | 19:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. Fighting killed at least 32 civilians on Friday in the Anbar province cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, where Al-Qaeda-linked militants took over areas this week, security officials said, cited by AFP.
Police and tribesmen in both cities are battling militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, which operates in both Iraq and Syria, the sources said.
ISIL militants took control of areas of both Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and Fallujah, another city farther east, during days of fighting that broke out after security forces demolished the country's main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp.
Clashes erupted in the Ramadi area on Monday as security forces tore down the sprawling anti-government protest camp on a nearby highway.
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