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Al-Fallujah Mostly Quiet Following Truce

20 April 2004 -- The situation in the Iraqi city of Al-Fallujah, where U.S. troops continue to surround the city after fierce fighting with insurgents earlier this month, was mostly quiet today as coalition officials and local leaders were seeking to implement a truce.

Reports have said the city is calm and a small number of refugees are returning to Al-Fallujah. One report said a U.S. Marines patrol was attacked by an armed group early this morning.

"The police are going to enter [Al-Fallujah] and efforts are underway to facilitate the return of families," an unnamed Iraqi police commander told reporters today. "I think that two families have already been allowed into the city. Negotiations are going on to facilitate the return of families and there are no problems."

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Louis Rodriguez Zapatero is scheduled to address parliament later today to explain the decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.

Spain was joined yesterday by Honduras, which also announced it would withdraw from Iraq its 370 soldiers who had been serving with the Spanish troops.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today he may remove Thailand's 450 personnel if the increasing violence in Iraq stops them from carrying out their mission.

Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea have all renewed their commitment to the coalition. (AFP/AP/Reuters)

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