Al-Qaeda fighters take control of Fallujah

Militants occupy much of the Iraqi city at centre of US ’surge’

Al-Qaeda-linked militants now held control of much of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and other nearby towns and have seized military equipment provided by the US to local police, whose headquarters have been over run.

A local reporter in the city which is in Iraq’s western Anbar province said “There’´s no sign of government forces inside Fallujah, and most of the fighting is taking place on a highway that links the city to Baghdad,” a local reporter told Reuters..

The death toll in Fallujah in the past three days of fighting has reached 36, mostly civilians killed by army shelling.

The military also has carried out air strikes targeting suspected al-Qaeda fighters, Al Jazeera said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent reinforcements on Wednesday to dislodge militants from the city and nearby Ramadi, a focus of the 2007 “surge” of US forces.


The fighting there is part of an escalation of violence in Iraq, where 2013 saw the most civilian casualties for five years amid the kind of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that also has engulfed Syria and Lebanon.