With US forces poised for an all out assault, the Iraqi government has said time is running out for the rebel-held city of Fallujah. An offensive there will aim to crush militants loyal to Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is suspected of operating from the city. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi indicated a showdown was imminent: “I can not stand back and allow such attacks to continue using Falluja as a base and as a cover for their terrorist activities. We have now entered the final phase of attempts to solve the Falluja problem without a major military confrontation.”
Meanwhile, there was another day of bloodshed in Iraq on Sunday. In Tikrit, a rocket attack killed fifteen people. It is thought the strike was aimed at US forces but missed its target and killed Iraqi workers instead. Earlier clashes in Ramadi left up to 11 Iraqis dead. The city is also considered a stronghold of Zarqawi who has claimed responsibility for some of Iraq’s bloodiest suicide bombings and hostage decapitations.