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Iraqi Families Flee Possible Anbar Offensive

Rescuers help a victim following a mortar attack on the western city of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province on April 15.
In Iraq, more than 1,000 families are reported to have fled the city of Fallujah ahead of possible government air strikes targeting Islamist militants.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reported on April 15 that more than 1,200 families had left Fallujah.

This week, Iraq's military dropped leaflets into Fallujah warning that air strikes could begin within days, in advance of an offensive to retake the city from militants.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has warned of possible imminent action against the Al-Qaeda-linked militants after they seized control of a dam, enabling them to flood certain areas and dislodge security forces from their positions.

Clashes have been taking place in Anbar for more than three months, since Al-Qaeda-linked militants seized Fallujah and parts of nearby Ramadi around the New Year in a major challenge to the Iraqi government.
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