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U.S. Ground Troops Move On Al-Fallujah

(file photo) 15 October 2004 -- U.S. ground troops moved towards the Iraqi rebel bastion of Al-Fallujah today after a night of air assaults.

The AFP news agency reported that some 1,000 U.S. ground troops, along with tanks and Iraqi special forces, are moving towards the city.

Lyle Gilbert, a spokesman for U.S. Marines, said the mission is to disrupt militants' ability to conduct terror attacks.

The move followed by a day a pair of suicide bombings inside Baghdad's heavily guarded Green Zone that killed at least five people.

Followers of Jordanian activist Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for those attacks. Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on 13 October that Al-Fallujah must surrender al-Zarqawi or face a military assault. City leaders have said they have no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The ground offensive followed a night of air and artillery strikes on suspected al-Zarqawi hideouts that hospital sources say left eight Iraqis killed and 23 wounded.


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