US, Iraqi Troops Occupy
Fallujah as Violence Spreads Other Cities
16 November 2004
American and Iraqi forces are almost entirely
in control of Fallujah, after a week of fighting in which 38 American
troops, six Iraqi soldiers and an estimated 1,200 insurgents have been
killed. But the military victory of Fallujah is being overshadowed by
other setbacks. Violence has spread to other Iraqi cities; a US Marine
is under investigation for the shooting of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi
fighter; and the Iraqi Red Crescent claims civilians in Fallujah are
suffering from food and medical shortages.
American and Iraqi forces have begun
military operations to secure parts of Mosul that have been
taken over by insurgents in the last few days. Bridges to
the city were closed, and U.S. forces began securing police
stations and returning them to the control of Iraqi police.
Mosul is one of several Iraqi cities in the north-western
Sunni area of Iraq which have witnessed severe clashes between
insurgents and American and Iraqi forces, in the last week.
Gunmen overran police stations, bridges and political offices
in the city. The Mosul police chief was fired after it appeared
some of the city's police force failed to oppose the insurgents.
There have also been clashes in Baqouba, Buhriz, Suwayrah
and Ramadi. At least five car bombs targeted American troops,
Monday. In Buhriz, gunmen kidnapped the city's police chief
and shot him dead when local police officers refused to surrender
their station. One American soldier was killed and another
wounded, Tuesday, when insurgents attacked their convoy in
The violence across Iraq, in the last week, is apparently
in response to the assault on
stronghold, Fallujah. That city is almost entirely under American
control now, although insurgents there
were "fighting to the death" according to a U.S. military official.
320 American soldiers have been wounded in the operation. A U.S.
Marine has been pulled from the battlefield and is under investigation
after he allegedly was filmed by a news crew shooting a wounded
and unarmed Iraqi fighter in a mosque in Fallujah, Saturday.
The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates at least 150 families are
inside Fallujah and are in need of food and medical supplies.
A Red Crescent convoy attempting to enter the city was turned
away by U.S. forces. A statement from Interim Iraqi Prime Minister
Iyad Allawi's office says it is clear there are very few civilians
in Fallujah and denies they are suffering from any shortages.