Iraq loses control of Fallujah to militants: Security official

Smoke billows from a police car following clashes between militants and Iraqi forces in the city of Fallujah, West of Baghdad, on January 1, 2014.

Smoke billows from a police car following clashes between militants and Iraqi forces in the city of Fallujah, West of Baghdad, on January 1, 2014.
Sat Jan 4, 2014 9:11AM GMT
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A senior Iraqi security official in Anbar Province says the government has lost control of the western city of Fallujah to al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said on Saturday that the flashpoint city “is under the control” of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which operates in Iraq and Syria, AFP reported.

The cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar Province have been the scene of deadly clashes between security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants over the past days.

The fighting left more than 100 people dead in Ramadi and Fallujah on Friday, security officials said.

The violence broke out on Monday 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.”[Read more]