BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities deployed security forces around the main rallying point for Sunni protests in western Iraq overnight and say the area has become a haven for terrorists.
The head of police for the western Anbar region, Hadi Arzeij, announced the operation in a televised press conference Saturday.
The Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that it took actions overnight to block al-Qaida infiltrators and prevent the flow of weapons and explosives to the main protest site in Ramadi.
Witnesses say a large number of security forces deployed around the protest area before dawn before withdrawing later.
For more than two months, a sit-in site along a highway in Ramadi has been the center of protests by Iraqi Sunnis against the Shiite-led government.