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Iraq's Maliki says army won't attack Falluja but militants must go

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised on Sunday there would be no military assault on Falluja, to spare the city more carnage, and said Sunni Muslim tribesmen would be given time to expel Al Qaeda-linked fighters. "We want to end the presence of those militants without any bloodshed because the people of Falluja have suffered a lot," he told Reuters in an interview, referring to the devastating assaults by U.S. forces to evict insurgents in 2004. (Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Senate moves toward supporting U.S. helicopters for Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate is looking more favorably at a request to provide attack helicopters to Iraq, but a top senator has not yet given the Obama administration a green light for military assistance that Iraq wants to help it rebuff an al Qaeda bid to seize a western province. Robert Menendez, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has held back on supporting the lease and sale of several dozen Apache helicopters to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki without certain assurances.

Biden, al-Maliki discuss ongoing battle in Anbar province: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about the ongoing fight against al Qaeda affiliated insurgents in the country's western Anbar province, the White House said in a statement.

Iraq PM to send reinforcements to restive Anbar

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday reversed a decision to withdraw troops from tense cities in Anbar province, and will instead deploy reinforcements, state television reported. "We will not withdraw the army" and "we will send additional forces," it quoted Maliki as saying in response to requests from residents and the government of the province west of Baghdad. wd/kir

Iraq PM to send reinforcements to restive Anbar

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday reversed a decision to withdraw troops from tense cities in Anbar province, and will instead deploy reinforcements, state television reported. "We will not withdraw the army" and "we will send additional forces," it quoted Maliki as saying in response to what it said were requests from residents and the government of the province west of Baghdad.

4 killed as tension spikes over Iraq protest camp closure

Four people died in fresh clashes Tuesday between Iraq's security forces and gunmen in Ramadi, as tension spiked following the forced closure of a nearby Sunni Arab anti-government protest site. Monday's removal of the sprawling protest camp on the edge of the city west of Baghdad was a victory of sorts for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has long wanted it gone. But it will likely inflame already-widespread discontent among Iraq's minority Sunni Arab community and compound rampant violence.

4 dead as tension spikes after Iraq protest camp shut

Fresh clashes between Iraqi security forces and gunmen in Ramadi killed four people on Tuesday, as tension spiked following the closure of a nearby Sunni Arab anti-government protest site. Monday's removal of the sprawling protest camp on the edge of the city west of Baghdad was a victory of sorts for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has long wanted it gone.

11 Die as security forces clear Sunni protest camps in Iraq

Baghdad, Dec 30 (EFE).- At least 11 people died and more than 40 others were wounded in clashes that broke out Monday after camps of Sunni protesters were cleared from the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar, police said. A police spokesman in Ramadi, capital of Al Anbar, told Efe that clashes between security forces and tribal combatants mainly occur in that city and in Fallujah. The violence broke out after police dismantled the campsites of Sunnis protesting their marginalization by the government headed by the Shi'ite Nouri al-Maliki.

10 gunmen killed as Iraq protest camp cleared

Iraqi security forces killed 10 gunmen in clashes that broke out in the Ramadi area as they tore down a year-old Sunni Arab protest camp on Monday, a doctor said. The fighting also wounded 30 gunmen, Dr Ahmed al-Ani of Ramadi hospital told AFP. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's spokesman, Ali Mussawi, had earlier told AFP that tents at the sprawling protest camp on a major highway near the city of Ramadi had been removed and the road reopened.

Iraq says dismantling of Sunni protest camp complete

Iraqi police have finished removing the main Sunni anti-government protest camp from a highway west of Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's spokesman said on Monday. Ali Mussawi told AFP that military sources confirmed local police and tribes "completed the removal of the tents that were (at) the site, and opened the road that was closed." This was done "without any losses, after Al-Qaeda and its members escaped from the camp to the city, and they are being pursued now," Mussawi said.
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