An Iraqi soldier gestures from a tank during an intensive security deployment on the streets of Ramadi January 18, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani
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Iraqi forces launched a major assault Sunday on Sunni gunmen holding neighbourhoods in a city near the capital, as an Al-Qaeda-linked group urged its fighters to "creep towards Baghdad".Jordan meanwhile said it would host a US training programme for Iraqi forces grappling with the standoff in Anbar and the worst surge in violence countrywide since 2008, which has already killed more than 650 people this month.With parliamentary elections due in April, Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki has blamed "diabolical" Arab countries for the unrest and focused on security operations.Fighting originally erupted in the Ramadi area on December 30, when security forces cleared a year-old Sunni Arab protest camp.It spread to Fallujah, and militants moved in and seized the city and parts of Ramadi after security forces withdrew.
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