Violent clashes between the Iraqi army and unidentified armed militias erupted on Monday morning in several cities in the western Iraqi governorate of Al-Anbar.
No more details about losses from either side have been reported yet. Witnesses have said that the situation is very complicated and unclear.
A security source in the governorate said that all communication in Al-Ramadi city, the governorate centre, was suspended from dawn. He also said that mosques called for residents to carry arms and go out and take part in the battle, over their speakerphones.
For the past eight days Iraqi authorities have carried out an enormous security campaign in Al-Anbar. The authorities said that they are targeting Al-Qaeda and other armed groups hiding in the desert of the governorate.
Previously Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to torch the tents of anti-government protesters in the governorate should they not removed. Al-Maliki has accused protesters of hiding Al-Qaeda terrorists.