News and opinions on situation in Iraq
23/04/04 City of Fallujah … 250,000 on the Brink of Annihilation From Coalition Forces…
  Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 9:20:17 -0400

TMPress International Newswire

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City of Fallujah … 250,000 on the Brink of Annihilation From Coalition Forces…

(TMPress International – New York – April 23, 2004) ñ City of Fallujah … 250,000 on the Brink of Annihilation From Coalition Forces … Unreported by the Coalition Provisional Authority, but according to many independent journalists … Fallujah remains a horrific scene, they're many reports of dozens of children who have been killed and maimed by U.S. Marine sniper-fire, another dirty little secret that has not crept into the mainstream press or the `tabloid news channels.' According to other independent Iraqi human rights watch groups, the children have been especially hard hit.

Thirty-six Iraqis were killed during fierce fighting in the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah, according to the US-led CPA occupation statement on Thursday. The fighting on Wednesday morning broke out when about 60 Sunni insurgent fighters attacked U.S. Marines with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in northwest Fallujah, the statement said. `Marines responded to the attacks with overwhelming small arms and mortar fire, as well as close-air support, killing 36 anti-Iraqi forces,' said the statement. On Wednesday, the US military reported that nine Iraqis were killed and three Marines were injured in the battle. A truce deal was put in place Monday but the CPA said clashes threatened to derail it. In a related development, the top Marine commander in Iraq said Thursday the residents in Fallujah have `days, not weeks' to turn in heavy weapons.

The `New Iraqi Army' contingent (mostly Arab and Sunni) refused to serve in Fallujah last week; especially since US forces were deploying `Peshmerga' Kurdish units from the north in their almost three-week battle in Fallujah. The U.S. free-fire zones in Fallujah have made many Arab Allies cringe, including Egypt and Jordan – who have been very vocal about the continued slow, but methodical assault on the city. Nearly 700 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Fallujah, since the beginning of April.

U.S. Marine forces are also destroying large blocks of homes and used a laser-guided bomb to destroy a Falluja mosque. Ferocious fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja has grown so intense that occupation forces have begun destroying buildings and homes. Aljazeera and other international newswire services reported on an exchange of fire in the Golan quarter, which grew so fierce that troops had to call in helicopter support on Wednesday. Witnesses indicated that two U.S. Marine Gunships destroyed four homes in al-Mutasim quarter, in which insurgent fighters immediately took cover in the ruined buildings. Under siege by U.S. Marines for more than two weeks … one fighter told international reporters that tanks and armored vehicles had been forced to leave the Golan quarter. Sunni Muslim clerics, who witnessed the destruction, but who fled the bloody fighting, urged insurgents to hold on to their weapons and to fight. Clerics in Baghdad were quoted as saying, `they kill all that moves, even the animals … these people are the enemies of mankind … calling on people of `good conscience' to act to stop the bloodshed.'

Occupation forces have only permitted seven Iraqi families to return to the city, since the original exodus of thousands of citizens. About 50 families had returned on Tuesday and between 500 and 600 families are still waiting for permission. However, a family that was permitted to return found US forces had turned their home into headquarters and are using its roof as an observation post. The family was forced to search for another house, not under attack, after they found themselves homeless in their own city.  

Complicating the ceasefire was Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comments on Tuesday, he stated that the chances of a negotiated solution to the mounting battle were `remote' and warned the U.S. military might use more severe weapons. `Thugs and assassins and former Saddam henchmen will not be allowed to carve out portions of that city and to oppose peace and freedom,' Rumsfeld said. But Iraq's Association of Muslim Scholars added that the Falluja agreement was `accepted by all the fighter groups' and that Rumsfeld's comments represented a fundamental misunderstanding of the original ceasefire terms. The committee claimed that it was the U.S. Marines, who broke the truce by shooting eight Iraqis dead on Tuesday. Sources close to the military operations chalk those deaths up to sniper fire from forward Marine positions. – By John Osborne, Sr. Political Editor – TMPress International Newswire

© 2004 TMPress International Newswire. Reprint granted without fee or license, please query for reprint permission.

Article Sources/Citations: TMPress International, newswire services.

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