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Pictures | Wed Jan 8, 2014 | 3:45pm EST

Showdown in Falluja

<p>An Iraqi soldier uses a binoculars at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 7, 2014. Families fled violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi with many arriving in the predominantly Shi'ite town of Kerbala, 53 miles south of Falluja. Iraq's prime minister urged people in the besieged city of Falluja to drive out al Qaeda-linked insurgents to pre-empt a military offensive that officials said could be launched within days. In a statement on state television, Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim whose government has little support in Sunni-dominated Falluja, called on tribal leaders to drive out militants who last week seized key towns in the desert leading to the Syrian border. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed</p>

An Iraqi soldier uses a binoculars at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 7, 2014. Families fled violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi with many arriving in the predominantly Shi'ite town of Kerbala,...more

An Iraqi soldier uses a binoculars at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 7, 2014. Families fled violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi with many arriving in the predominantly Shi'ite town of Kerbala, 53 miles south of Falluja. Iraq's prime minister urged people in the besieged city of Falluja to drive out al Qaeda-linked insurgents to pre-empt a military offensive that officials said could be launched within days. In a statement on state television, Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim whose government has little support in Sunni-dominated Falluja, called on tribal leaders to drive out militants who last week seized key towns in the desert leading to the Syrian border. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

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<p>Tribal fighters gesture after deploying themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani</p>

Tribal fighters gesture after deploying themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

Tribal fighters gesture after deploying themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

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<p>Tribal fighters deploy themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani</p>

Tribal fighters deploy themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

Tribal fighters deploy themselves on the streets of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

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<p>Tribal fighters gather before being deployed to patrol the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS</p>

Tribal fighters gather before being deployed to patrol the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS

Tribal fighters gather before being deployed to patrol the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS

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<p>An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad</p>

An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

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<p>Iraqi security personnel search a resident fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed</p>

Iraqi security personnel search a resident fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Iraqi security personnel search a resident fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

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<p>Iraqi security personnel search residents fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed</p>

Iraqi security personnel search residents fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Iraqi security personnel search residents fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at checkpoints in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

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<p>Gunmen fighters walk in the streets of the city of Falluja, 31 miles west of Baghdad, January 3, 2014. REUTERS</p>

Gunmen fighters walk in the streets of the city of Falluja, 31 miles west of Baghdad, January 3, 2014. REUTERS

Gunmen fighters walk in the streets of the city of Falluja, 31 miles west of Baghdad, January 3, 2014. REUTERS

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<p>A military convoy carrying a tank drives towards Anbar, to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad</p>

A military convoy carrying a tank drives towards Anbar, to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

A military convoy carrying a tank drives towards Anbar, to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

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<p>Iraqi security personnel search the vehicle of a resident who is fleeing the violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed</p>

Iraqi security personnel search the vehicle of a resident who is fleeing the violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Iraqi security personnel search the vehicle of a resident who is fleeing the violence in Falluja and Ramadi, at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

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<p>Families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi wait at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed</p>

Families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi wait at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi wait at a checkpoint in Ein Tamarm, a town some 25 miles west of Kerbala, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

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<p>Mourners carry the coffin of a soldier, who was killed during clashes in Falluja, at his funeral in Najaf, 99 miles south of Baghdad, January 5, 2014. Iraqi government forces battling an al Qaeda offensive near the Syrian border launched an air strike on Ramadi city killing 25 Islamist militants, according to local officials. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani</p>

Mourners carry the coffin of a soldier, who was killed during clashes in Falluja, at his funeral in Najaf, 99 miles south of Baghdad, January 5, 2014. Iraqi government forces battling an al Qaeda offensive near the Syrian border launched an air...more

Mourners carry the coffin of a soldier, who was killed during clashes in Falluja, at his funeral in Najaf, 99 miles south of Baghdad, January 5, 2014. Iraqi government forces battling an al Qaeda offensive near the Syrian border launched an air strike on Ramadi city killing 25 Islamist militants, according to local officials. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

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<p>A boy holds his Kalashnikov rifle on the streets of the city of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani</p>

A boy holds his Kalashnikov rifle on the streets of the city of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

A boy holds his Kalashnikov rifle on the streets of the city of Ramadi, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani

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<p>An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point in west Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad</p>

An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point in west Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

An Iraqi soldier stands guard at a check point in west Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

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<p>An Iraqi soldier checks identification papers at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad</p>

An Iraqi soldier checks identification papers at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

An Iraqi soldier checks identification papers at a check point west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

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<p>A military convoy drives towards Anbar to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad</p>

A military convoy drives towards Anbar to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

A military convoy drives towards Anbar to reinforce Iraqi troops in the province, west of Baghdad, January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

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<p>A tribal fighter holding his weapon patrols the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS</p>

A tribal fighter holding his weapon patrols the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS

A tribal fighter holding his weapon patrols the streets of Falluja, January 5, 2014. REUTERS

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