Iraq Police Say Much Of Fallujah Has Been Captured By Al Qaeda-Linked Group

FallujahAPAn empty street shows burned vehicles as buildings including a provincial government building, center in the background, are seen damaged in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Provincial spokesman Dhari al-Rishawi said Iraqi security forces and allied tribesmen are pressing their campaign to rout al-Qaida from Fallujah and Ramadi, two main cities in the western Anbar province.

BAGHDAD (AP) — The head of police in Iraq’s Anbar province says the city center of Fallujah has fallen completely into the hands of fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Levant.

Hadi Razeij, head of the Anbar police force, said police had left the city center entirely and had positioned themselves on the edge of town.

He said on Arabic language broadcaster al-Arabiya: “The walls of the city are in the hands of the police force, but the people of Fallujah are the prisoners of ISIL.”

Fallujah, along with nearby provincial capital Ramadi, were strongholds of Sunni insurgents during the U.S.-led war. Al-Qaida militants largely took them over earlier this week.

Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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