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U.S. To Delay Al-Fallujah Offensive

26 April 2004 -- U.S. military commanders are reported to have postponed plans to launch an attack against insurgents in the Iraqi town of Al-Fallujah.

Reports quote commanders as saying U.S. Marines will instead seek to regain a measure of control over Al-Fallujah without -- for now -- launching a full-scale offensive.

The U.S. military said U.S. Marines are expected to begin joint patrols with Iraqi security forces in Al-Fallujah as part of an extended ceasefire arrangement with insurgents in the Sunni Muslim town.

Iraq's oil minister says oil exports could resume as early as today from the main Al-Basrah terminal in the Gulf after operations were halted following an assault by suicide boat bombers.

Closure of the Al-Basrah terminal is believed to be costing Iraq some 1.6 million barrels of oil exports per day.

Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulloum said crude exports have already resumed from the Khor al-Amaya terminal, which was also targeted in 24 April attacks involving three explosives-laden boats.

No major damage to the oil facilities was reported. The United States said three U.S. servicemen were killed when one of the boats exploded as U.S.-led coalition forces were intercepting it. (AP/BBC/"The Washington Post")

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