A masked Iraqi policeman handles a machine gun mounted on the back of a pick up truck during fighting against insurgents alongside local militiamen on the outskirts of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, on May 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO /AZHER SHALLAL
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Iraqi forces launched an operation Friday to retake areas near the militant-held city of Fallujah in preparation for an eventual assault, a senior officer said, as violence killed 11 people.Such an assault is unlikely to occur soon, as security forces have struggled all year to retake territory in Anbar from militants.And they would face major challenges in actually assaulting Fallujah, an operation that would likely cause massive damage to the city and carry significant risks of civilian casualties. In other violence on Friday, a roadside bomb exploded near an army patrol in Khales, northeast of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding two, a police colonel and a doctor said.
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