News / Middle East

Iraqis Flee Fallujah Ahead of Possible Assault

Iraqi tribal fighters who have been deployed onto the streets, patrol in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014. Iraqi tribal fighters who have been deployed onto the streets, patrol in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
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Iraqi tribal fighters who have been deployed onto the streets, patrol in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
Iraqi tribal fighters who have been deployed onto the streets, patrol in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
VOA News
Families are fleeing the Iraqi city of Fallujah as Iraqi troops mass outside the city, in position for a possible assault on Islamic militants who took control of the city last week.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned of a possible military offensive on Fallujah within days and urged residents and tribes in the city to "expel" the al-Qaida linked militants to preempt such an action. 

Maliki, a Shi'ite whose government has little support in Sunni Fallujah, says he has ordered security forces not to strike residential areas.

  • A firefighter hoses down a destroyed vehicle at the site of bomb attack in Kirkuk, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • A woman stands near the site of bomb attack in Kirkuk, , Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Security personnel search the vehicle of a resident who is fleeing violence in Anbar province at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • A burned police vehicle left in the main street of Fallujah after clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida fighters, Jan. 5, 2014
  • Gunmen patrol during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Mourners and Sunni gunmen chant slogans against Iraq's Shiite-led government during funeral of a man killed in clashes in Fallujah, Jan. 4, 2014.
  • Civilians load their belongings as they leave their homes after clashes between the Iraqi army and al-Qaida fighters in Fallujah, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Iraqi security forces and people gather at the site of a road side bomb attack in central Baghdad, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Sunni Muslim fighters watch as a police vehicle burns during clashes in Ramadi, Jan. 2, 2014.

In violence elsewhere in Iraq Tuesday, a truck laden with explosives rammed into a police station in the Kirkuk district, killing two people and wounding at least 40 others.

On Sunday, at least 34 people died in Ramadi during fierce fighting between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida-linked Islamist fighters.  Government forces followed up with an air strike on Ramadi.

The United States has reaffirmed its support for Iraq in its fight against the militants and said it will accelerate U.S. military sales and deliveries to the nation. But White House spokesman Jay Carney said while the U.S. will send more surveillance drones and Hellfire missiles to Iraq this year, Iraq must take the lead and handle the conflict itself.

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