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Iraqi general: Forces to retake western cities held by al-Qaida-linked fighters in coming days

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Mourners and Sunni gunmen chant slogans against Iraq's Shiite-led government during the funeral of a man killed when clashes erupted between al-Qaida gunmen and Iraqi army soldiers on Friday, his family said, in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Provincial spokesman Dhari al-Rishawi said Iraqi security forces and allied tribesmen are pressing their campaign to rout al-Qaida from Fallujah and Ramadi, two main cities in the western Anbar province. (AP Photo)The Associated Press

A senior Iraqi military commander says it will take a few days to fully dislodge al-Qaida-linked fighters from two key western cities.

Lt. Gen. Rasheed Fleih, who leads the Anbar Military Command, told the state television Sunday that "two to three days" are needed to push the militants out of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. Fleih said pro-government Sunni tribes are leading the operations while the army only is offering aerial cover and logistics on the ground.

Fighting has raged in Iraq's western Anbar province since Monday. Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant have taken over the center of Fallujah and some parts of Ramadi.

Residents say it has been quiet in Fallujah since Saturday night while sporadic clashes took place Sunday in Ramadi.