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U.S. Forces Pound Al-Fallujah

17 September 2004 -- The U.S. military today said U.S. warplanes have fired at suspected hideouts of militants in and around the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Al-Fallujah.

The military said in a statement the target was a cluster of houses believed to be used by members of a militant group led by Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, who is suspected of having links with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Today's attack followed strikes late yesterday that the U.S. military says were on a militant compound about 20 kilometers south of Al-Fallujah. The military estimates up to 60 suspected insurgents may have been killed, but hospital officials said the dead include women and children.

A U.S. military spokesman, Major Philip Smith, says U.S. troops battled with insurgents in Baghdad after an explosives-rigged car tried to ram a checkpoint today and was blown up by American gunfire.