Iraqi government forces have started preparation efforts aimed at regaining control over Anbar Province’s restive city of Fallujah from al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Iraqi forces reportedly escalated shelling in Fallujah after military officials said the decision to enter the city was made on Sunday.
Reports say Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made the decision to launch an operation against the militants in Fallujah, nearly one month after the latter captured the city.
After the militants took control of Fallujah, the government gave the city’s local tribes an opportunity to drive the al-Qaeda-linked militants out of the area.
On February 2, Iraqi forces killed 50 militants from the al-Qaeda-linked group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Anbar.
Anbar has been the scene of violence over the past few months. The unrest escalated on December 30, 2013, when the Iraqi army removed a camp in the city of Ramadi.
After the fighting spread to Fallujah, and militants moved in and seized the city and parts of Ramadi.
Sunni tribe members have been helping Iraqi forces in their fight against the militants.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 140,000 people have left their homes amid raging clashes in Anbar Province.