aqi forces backed by US air power continue their fight against Islamic State. Here in Fallujah, just 30 miles from Baghdad,
mbing central districts in a large scale military offensive to retake the city. Ned Parker was Reuters' Baghdad Bureau Chief up until last year. And he says the battle for Fallujah goes to the core of the ethnic division in Iraq.
>> What was initially an insurgency against a perceived injustice within a community, which is what Sunni's felt initially felt 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. It's brutal to the population that lives inside of Fallujah.
The problem is 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.>> Fallujah has long been a Jihadi stronghold. And this isn't the first time the US backed Iraqi have tried to retake it.
>> In 2004 the US Military took back Fallujah from Sunni insurgents who were led by radical Islamists who were either part of Islamic State in Iraq or subscribe to similar ideology. To take back the city, which it ultimately was taken back in November of 2004, the city was leveled.
In this round, it's useful to know that, in the last government of then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, he started an offensive to take back Fallujah in January 2014. And that really predated the fall of Mosul.>> Their efforts two years ago failed. But recent suicide attacks in Baghdad ramped up the pressure on the government to do something about the near by ISIS stronghold.
The United Nations and the Red Cross warning a large number of civilians are at risk due to the shelling, and shortages of food and water.>>