BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraqi general: Forces will retake western cities

The coffin of a man killed in fighing is carried for burial in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, in the Anbar province, on January 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR

BAGHDAD: A senior Iraqi military commander says it will take a few days to fully dislodge al-Qaida-linked fighters from two key western cities.

Lt. Gen. Rasheed Fleih, who leads the Anbar Military Command, told the state television Sunday that "two to three days" are needed to push the militants out of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. Fleih said pro-government Sunni tribes are leading the operations while the army only is offering aerial cover and logistics on the ground.

Fighting has raged in Iraq's western Anbar province since Monday. Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant have taken over the center of Fallujah and some parts of Ramadi.

Residents say it has been quiet in Fallujah since Saturday night while sporadic clashes took place Sunday in Ramadi.

 

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