Sunni Muslim worshipers crowd a street as they attend open air Friday prayers in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. (Image source: AP)
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.
Mourners and Sunni gunmen chant slogans against Iraq’s Shiite-led government during the funeral of a man killed when clashes erupted between al-Qaida gunmen and Iraqi army soldiers on Friday, his family said, in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Image source: AP)
Iraqi Sunni masked protesters burn tires to blocked the main highway to Jordan and Syria, outside Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left 10 dead, however, were a reminder of how insurgents have sought to use the protest movement to step up their armed campaign against authorities. (Image source: AP)
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.