Iran: ready to help Iraq "battle Al Qaeda terrorists" in Anbar
Local Iraqi tribesmen in Fallujah prepare to "battle the terrorists" (Sadam El Mehmedy/AFP)
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An Iranian military official told the Associated Press Sunday that Tehran is ready to help Iraq "battle [its] Al Qaeda 'terrorists'" in its western Anbar province.
Iranian media quoted deputy chief-of-staff of the army, Gen. Mohammad Hejazi saying that "the Islamic Republic can offer 'military equipment and advisers' should Baghdad ask for it."
However, Hejazi immediately ruled out sending troops according to the statement.
Al Qaeda-linked forces have overtaken Iraq's city of Fallujah as well as parts of the Anbar capital of Ramadi after Iraqi security forces attempted to dismantle the Sunni protest camp in the province due to allegations that it had become an "Al Qaeda headquarters."
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an Al-Qaeda linked group with strongholds growing in Iraq and Syria in particular, is considered responsible for overtaking Ramadi and Fallujah earlier this week.
At least 22 soldiers and 12 civilians were killed in fighting in Anbar Sunday. An unknown number of militants were also killed Sunday.