Iraq's interim prime minister has warned insurgents in the city of Fallujah that "the window is closing for a peacefulsettlement," raising expectations that a full-scale military assault on the city is imminent.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, where he is attending a European Union summit, Iyad Allawi said most Fallujans had fled and only foreign terrorists and insurgents remained. One U.S. soldier was killed and five wounded near the city on Friday.
US troops and Iraqi security forces are poised around both Fallujah and Ramadi waiting for Mr. Allawi's order to crush the insurgents. The prime minister has said he will use force if necessary to restore security ahead of January 27th national elections.
U.S. troops have blocked all roads in and out of Fallujah and stepped up bombings of insurgent targets. Women and children have been warned to leave the city.