A gunman patrols after clashes with Iraqi security forces outside Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. Since late December, members of Iraq's al-Qaida branch - known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - have taken over parts of Ramadi, the capital of the largely Sunni western province of Anbar. They also control the center of the nearby city of Fallujah, along with other non-al-Qaida groups that also oppose the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo) (The Associated Press)
Gunmen inspect a damaged ammunition truck belonging to the Iraqi army after clashes with Iraqi security forces outside Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. Violence across Iraq, including a series of car bombings and fighting between militants and government troops over control of the country's contested Anbar province, killed dozens Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo) (The Associated Press)
BAGHDAD – A senior Iraqi official claims al-Qaida fighters hunkered down in a city they seized late last month west of Baghdad have enough heavy weapons to allegedly take the country's capital.
Senior deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Asadi said Monday that Iraqi forces are fighting "fierce battles" against heavily armed militants to recapture parts of Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, and also the nearby city of Fallujah.
He says the weapons in Fallujah that are in the hands of Iraq's al-Qaida branch and other Sunni militant groups battling the Shiite-led government are "advanced and huge and enough to occupy Baghdad."
He didn't elaborate on the type or quantity of the weapons.
Iraq's government announced on Sunday an all-out military operation to push al-Qaida out of Ramadi.