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Scattered Violence Reported Amid Al-Fallujah Cease-Fire

11 April 2004 -- A cease-fire between U.S. forces and fighters in the Iraqi city of Al-Fallujah appears largely to be holding, amid reports of scattered violence.

Agencies report the city has been mostly calm today, with many residents leaving the besieged city following six days of fighting.

However, two U.S. Marines were wounded by sniper fire, and an armed Iraqi was killed in a subsequent street clash.

Reuters quoted Mahmud Uthman, a mediator and member of the Iraqi Governing Council, as saying the first phase of the cease-fire involves a 12-hour truce. But he called the cease-fire "very shaky" and said negotiations are continuing.

Reports say fighters promised to honor a cease-fire if U.S. forces first pulled out of city. U.S. commanders have demanded that the fighters in Al-Fallujah lay down their weapons and turn over to the U.S. the Iraqis who killed and mutilated four U.S. civilian contractors on 31 March.

Meanwhile, a coalition spokesman in Iraq says a U.S. helicopter was shot down today west of Baghdad, killing the two pilots.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said that one U.S. soldier died and 20 Iraqis were killed as a result of fighting in clashes in the town of Baquba, west of Baghdad, on 9 April.