In this Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 picture, gunmen patrol during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, Iraq.(AP Photo)
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An Iraqi government airstrike killed 25 al-Qaida-linked militants and fierce clashes broke out west of Baghdad on Tuesday in a flare-up to a days-long standoff in the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, Iraqi officials said.Iraqi forces and fighters from government-allied Sunni tribes have been battling militants to recapture two key cities Fallujah and Ramadi, the provincial capital. Iraqi military spokesman Gen. Mohammed al-Askari said the Iraqi air force struck an operations center for the militants on the outskirts of Ramadi, killing 25 fighters who were holed up inside. The airstrike came after clashes erupted about 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Fallujah following the capture of an army officer and four soldiers in the area a day earlier, provincial spokesman Dhari al-Rishawi told The Associated Press.A medical official in Fallujah said two civilians were killed and five were wounded, including two children, when they were caught Tuesday in an exchange of fire between militants and an Iraqi army troops south of the city as they were trying to flee.
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