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U.S. Troops On High Alert In Iraq

(file photo) 15 October 2004 -- The U.S. military is on high alert in Iraq today at the start of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which started last year with an increase in insurgent-backed violence.

Earlier today, the U.S. military stepped up its air and ground offensive in the rebel-dominated city of Al-Fallujah, where wanted Jordanian militant Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi is believed to be located.

The offensive comes one day after two explosions inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad killed at least five people. A militant group believed to be headed by al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the zone -- home to U.S. and Iraqi government offices.

On 13 October, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi warned Al-Fallujah that it must hand over al-Zarqawi and his followers or face a major operation to root them out.


[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]