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IPFS News Link • Iraq

Iraqi army prepares to storm militant-held Falluja

•, Suadad al-Salhy
 Anti-government fighters, among them insurgents linked with al Qaeda, overran two cities in the Sunni-dominated western province of Anbar on January 1. against a backdrop of deteriorating security across the country.

At least 12 people were killed in bombings across Iraq on Saturday, mostly in the capital Baghdad, just 70 km (40 miles) away from Falluja, a city currently surrounded by the army.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had held off an all out assault on the city to give local tribesmen a chance to expel the militants themselves, but security officials told Reuters a decision had been made to enter Falluja by 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Sunday.

"That's it: they were given enough time to make their choice, but they failed," a top security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of the tribesmen and militants.