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U.S. Forces Kill Several Iraqi Insurgents In Al-Fallujah


http://gdb.rferl.org/B679EA6D-17B1-4086-A2BE-D4440444A8B4_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/B679EA6D-17B1-4086-A2BE-D4440444A8B4_mw800_mh600.jpg (file photo) 31 August 2004 -- The U.S. military says its forces killed several Iraqi militants late yesterday in the Iraqi city of Al-Fallujah.

A military spokesman, Thomas V. Johnson, said U.S. troops were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars in the northeastern sector of the city and responded by opening tank fire.

Al-Fallujah, some 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, has been a hotbed of resistance against U.S. forces in Iraq.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, police said attackers shot dead the head of the city educational department. Ibrahim Ismael was killed in a drive-by shooting as he drove to work. Three of his bodyguards were wounded in the attack. The motive for the killing was unclear.

Militants holding two French journalists in Iraq have given France an extra 24 hours -- until late today -- to revoke the ban on the wearing of Muslim head scarves in French public schools.

Al-Jazeera television has broadcast new footage in which the journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, are seen calling on President Jacques Chirac to retract the head-scarf law, saying that otherwise they might be killed.

French authorities have already said there is no question of the ban being revoked. The head-scarf law goes into effect tomorrow when school resumes in France.

In other developments, Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to end attacks on U.S. and allied Iraqi forces. Aides to al-Sadr said the cleric is considering plans to pursue his goals through Iraq's political process.

(Reuters/AP/AFP)

For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".
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