>> Fourth day of heavy clashes as Iraqi forces fight off Islamic State in Fallujah. The long-time jihadist stronghold, only 30 miles from the capital, Baghdad. Ned Parker was Reuters' Baghdad Bureau Chief up until last year, and says the battle for Fallujah goes to the core Of the ethnic division in Iraq.
>> So, what we're seeing today is very much testimony to the failure to see a real healing of Iraqi society after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and again as in decade ago what was initially a insurgency against proceeds and justice within a community. Which is what Sunnis felt initially in 2003 and 2004 has quickly been hijacked by the most ruthless revolutionary radical elements.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq, now called Islamic State in Iraq, which is a brutal force, is brutal to the population the lives inside of Fallujah. The problem is that until now, many Sunnis do not yet see a real alternative for them within the new Iraqi order where their rights will be protected.
And as long as that remains the case, whether it's called Islamic State in Iraq or another name, you'll see radical armed forces revolting against the government in Baghdad.>> Seven civilians and two militants were killed in the shelling on Wednesday, 21 civilians and another two militants wounded. The Baghdad government has called on civilians to flee, but roadside bombs have prevented most of them from leaving.
The UN's Refugee Agency says at least three people have been killed trying to escape, while some 10,000 families remain inside what they call a very precarious situation