Maliki says Iraqi army won’t attack Fallujah

Maliki says Iraqi army won’t attack Fallujah
Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:25:59

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has praised the tribal leaders in Fallujah for their ongoing efforts to retake the city from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), ruling out a military operation against Fallujah.

“We do not care how long this takes,” Maliki added, saying the military could encircle Fallujah until AQI is removed from the city, which it took a week and a half ago.

The Fallujah tribes have taken parts of the city back by force and are in talks to retake the city outright from AQI, but that doesn’t mean Fallujah will necessarily return to government’s control.

Clashes between security forces and the militants are now taking place in Albu Bali, a militant stronghold between Ramadi and Fallujah.

Iraqi officials have said they need a few more days to defeat the militants in the two cities.

On Friday night, the UN Security Council published a statement, backing the Iraqi premier in the battle against the militants.

The 15-nation body also called on "Iraqi tribes, local leaders, and Iraqi security forces in Anbar province, to continue, expand and strengthen their cooperation against violence and terror and it stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity."

The violence in Anbar broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.” The bloodshed later spread to nearby Fallujah.

The security forces supported by Sunni tribesmen have been battling the militants.

Head of Anbar’s health directorate Khudeir Shalal said on Saturday the two-week clashes killed 43 people in the city of Ramadi and another 17 were killed in Fallujah, putting the overall death toll at 60.


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