Fallujah, Iraq - With Iraqi government forces in position outside the city of Fallujah in Anbar province, militants who seized the city said Monday they will punish all within its boundaries who support the government. After both Fallujah and the nearby city of Ramadi came under assault by militants of al Qaeda's Islamist State of Iraq and Levant Group (I.S.I.L.), the Shi'ite Muslim-led Baghdad government has had some success in working with local Sunni tribesmen to regain control of Ramadi. The Iraqi army was videotaped Sunday sweeping through the streets of Ramadi battling I.S.I.L. snipers. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today urged people in Fallujah to also drive out insurgents there, to pre-empt a government military assault by forces outside the city.
The role of the Sunni tribesmen in Anbar is crucial to control in the province. Tribesmen played a key role in the U.S. led efforts to defeat Sunni insurgents in 2007. The I.S.I.L has a declared aim of creating an Islamic state stretching across Iraq and Syria.