Iraq's interim prime minister has said decisive military action may soon be carried out in the city of Falluja, if a political solution cannot be found.
Falluja has been hit regularly by US air strikes
Iyad Allawi told al-Arabiya television that Iraqi security forces would be used in any operation against the city.
A BBC correspondent outside Falluja says any military action to retake the rebel city would be challenging.
US forces have not been into Falluja since handing responsibility for security over to Iraqi forces in April.
The force quickly disbanded after insurgent attacks, reports the BBC's Jennifer Glass, with US marines outside Falluja.
Our correspondent says that leaves much of the city in the control of militants fighting US and Iraqi forces.
Establishing authority in Falluja is seen as crucial ahead of elections planned for January.
"I think we waited more than enough for Falluja," the
Iraqi leader said in the interview on the Arab television network.
The US has continued heavy raids on Falluja, including what it called a "terrorist site" linked to militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
He is blamed for a string of kidnappings and suicide bombings.
On Tuesday, the American military said it had "conducted a precision strike" targeting members of Zarqawi's organisation.
Local doctors said at least three civilians were killed in the raid, but the US said "only Zarqawi operatives", not civilians, were at the site.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted between US forces and Iraqi militants in Baghdad's Sadr City after US raids overnight on Monday.
Residents said dozens of tanks roamed the streets of the suburb, which is a stronghold for supporters of Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr.
US troops have frequently clashed with Mr Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.
A peace deal last month ended weeks of fighting in the city of Najaf but clashes have continued in Sadr City.