Jan. 14 - Residents in Falluja say life is returning to normal, as government troops keep guard outside the city against al-Qaeda linked militants. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A sense of normalcy in Falluja.
Traffic is on the streets. And markets are open for business.
Residents are hoping for the best now that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has pledged to keep tanks and troops on the outskirts of the city provided local tribes expel militants.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED FALLUJA RESIDENT, SAYING:
"The situation is now stable and calm in Falluja, thank God and we are celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. The situation is stable and people have started to return. God willing nothing will happen."
On January 1, Sunni militants overran the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi in Anbar province. It was a bold challenge to the government and alarmed the United States, whose troops fought fierce battles with insurgents in Falluja in 2004.
Now the government is fighting back in Anbar with a lethal air campaign. There are no official figures on the number of militants or Iraqi troops killed.
But authorities say at least 60 civilians and tribal fighters have been killed and nearly 300 wounded in the past two weeks.
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