FALLUJAH, Iraq: Iraq is preparing a “major attack” on militant-held Fallujah, a senior official said on Sunday, spelling another assault for the city west of Baghdad where US forces repeatedly battled insurgents. Washington said it would help Baghdad in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants but that there would be no return of US troops, and Iran on Sunday also offered assistance. The takeover of Fallujah and parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, is the first time militants have exercised such open control in major cities since the height of the bloody insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of 2003. “Iraqi forces are preparing for a major attack in Fallujah,” a senior official told Agence France-Presse. Special forces have already conducted operations inside the city, the official said. The regular army has paused on the edge of Fallujah to allow residents time to leave, after which it will launch “the attack to crush the terrorists”.