Iraqi SWAT troopers take part in an intensive security deployment on the outskirts the city of Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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Iraqi security forces are preparing to storm Falluja and break a month-long standoff with militants who control the city, senior security officials and troops told Reuters on Saturday.Iraqi government forces have since regained control over most of Ramadi, but Falluja remains in militant hands and is surrounded by the army, which has periodically shelled it.Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, has held off an assault to give local tribesmen time to expel militants from Falluja themselves. Officials said airstrikes and shelling would intensify on the city before a ground assault by special operations units known as SWAT, which will clear any pockets of resistance.
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