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Civilians Flee Iraqi Town During Lull In Fighting


U.S. soldiers in Iraq (file photo) (AFP) 6 November 2005 -- Scores of people today fled an Iraqi town on the Syrian border during a lull in fighting between U.S. and Iraqi troops and suspected insurgents.

Many of the residents of Husaybah left on foot, waving pieces of white cloth on sticks to avoid being attacked. AP
quotes witnesses as saying coalition forces warned over loudspeakers that anyone leaving the town of Husaybah in
vehicles would be shot.

Today is the second day of a major U.S.-led offensive called Operation Steel Curtain. The offensive is aimed at sealing off a main route for foreign fighters entering Iraq.

The U.S.-led operation involves some 2,500 U.S. soldiers plus about 1,000 Iraqi soldiers. In Baghdad, two Sunni Arab politicians sharply criticized the offensive, predicting it would kill many civilians.

In a separate outburst of violence north of Baghdad, masked gunmen opened fire on a minivan, killing 13 people,
including a baby.

(AP/Reuters)
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