A military spokesman says Iraqi and U.S. forces are preparing to target insurgents in militant-held areas of the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.
U.S. Army Major General Rick Lynch Thursday said the potential operation will strike foreign fighters and insurgents who are trying to turn Tal Afar into a haven for terrorists.
General Lynch said he would not specify any timeline for the military sweep, but underscored that authorities are working with local leaders to evacuate civilians from the town, about 420 kilometers north of Baghdad.
In other developments, the U.S. military says its warplanes bombed a suspected al-Qaida safehouse in the western town of Husaybah, near the Syrian border.
The air strike early Thursday specifically targeted what the military said was a "known bomb-making cell leader" (Abu Mohammad). It is not clear if he was confirmed killed in the strike.