Iraq army set to storm al-Qaeda-held Falluja

Iraq army set to storm al-Qaeda-held Falluja
Sat Feb 1, 2014 21:45:27

Iraqi security forces are preparing to launch a major offensive on the al-Qaeda-linked militants in Falluja and break a month-long standoff with the foreign-backed insurgents that maintain control over the city.

Various al-Qaeda-linked militants, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), attacked two cities in the western province of al-Anbar bordering Syria on January 1, senior security officials and troops said on Saturday.

Iraqi government forces have since regained control over most of Ramadi, but Falluja still remains in control of the al-Qaeda-linked militant.

The army, however, has surrounded Falluja.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, has held off an assault to give local tribesmen time to expel militants from Falluja themselves.

But security officials said a decision had now been reached to move into the city by 6 p.m. on Sunday, local time.

In a recent interview, Maliki also slammed Saudi Arabia for supporting terrorist groups in his country. “The current terrorism originates from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The Iraqi premier also blamed Riyadh for sponsoring terrorism in Syria.


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