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17 October 2004 -- U.S. warplanes hammered Al-Fallujah with a new round of air strikes today as U.S. ground troops reinforced their positions around the rebel-held city.
Hospital officials in Al-Fallujah reported casualties from the strikes but said the fighting was so heavy that it was preventing ambulances from reaching victims. Three people were reportedly killed in a previous wave of air strikes.
Earlier, U.S. tanks reportedly fired on insurgent positions on the eastern edge of the city.
Insurgents retaliated with small arms fire, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades.
Iraq's interim government today renewed its call to residents of Al-Fallujah to hand over insurgents or face a large-scale offensive.
In other violence, Iraqi police today said that nine Iraqi policemen were ambushed and killed yesterday in Al-Latifiyah, south of Baghdad.
(Reuters/AP/AFP)[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]