29 October 2004 -- U.S. Marine Brigadier General Dennis Hejlik says his Expeditionary Force is "gearing up" for a major military operation against insurgents in their stronghold in Al-Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
As part of the preprations, hundreds of British soldiers have deployed near Baghdad at U.S. request. Their presence frees U.S. forces for the potential Al-Fallujah action.
A U.S. military spokesman, Major Francis Piccoli, said that a Navy jet assigned to support of the Marine force bombed a suspected weapons site today in Al-Fallujah. He said the bombing destroyed the site and set off a secondary explosion, which he said suggested the existence of a weapons cache there.
Iraqi officials said today that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is dispatching a team to Al-Fallujah to try to negotiate clearing the city of insurgents and heavy weapons and, thus, to head off a full-scale assault.