Jan. 12 - Iraqi army tries to retake Falluja from militants who overran the city on New Year's day, with the help of sympathetic tribesmen. Michaela Cabrera reports.
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The Iraqi army shelled Falluja on Saturday (January 11) to try and retake it from Sunni militants and tribesmen.
Scattered around the city were masked fighters, said to include members of the al-Qaeda linked group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL.
Militants took control of Falluja on January 1 with the help of sympathetic tribesmen who are united in their opposition against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
A centre of Sunni faith and identity in Iraq -- Falluja endured two devastating U.S. offensives against insurgents in 2004.
The U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein ushered in Shi'ite majority rule.
And Falluja is now the latest frontline in a war by al-Maliki's government against militants.
But Falluja's residents who fled recent fighting have said they were stunned at the prospect of an assault by the Iraqi army.
They questioned whether the masked gunmen who overran their city were really al-Qaeda affiliates.
Negotiators are now working out a deal in which the militants who took control of the city would give way to Sunni tribal leaders.
Violence in Iraq is at its worst level in the last five years.
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