Al-Qaida-Linked Militants Seize Iraqi City of Fallujah

Radical Sunni forces linked with Al-Qaida captured Fallujah, the city in western Iraq that was site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war in which the U.S. lost 146 troops, NBC News reported. Islamist insurgents have also battled tribesmen for control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi. U.S. intelligence officials said Friday the situation in western Iraq was "extremely dire." The fighters brandished their weapons and set police vehicles ablaze on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. The move is another sign that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has not been able to maintain control of the country since the United States withdrew its troops in 2011, failing to reach an agreement with the Maliki government to leave behind a residual force. The State Department said the violence that reached another peak Friday was a spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria -- and that the border between Syria and Iraq has now become meaningless.

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