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Al-Fallujah Secured, As Fighting Spreads

16 November 2004 -- The U.S. military says its troops have secured control over the restive city of Al-Fallujah as unrest spreads to other parts of Iraq's Sunni Muslim region.

Colonel Michael Regner said Iraqi and U.S. soldiers could now "go anywhere at any time throughout that city." But he added that Marines are still involved in fighting in sections of Al-Fallujah and are making house-to-house searches.

Regner said more than 1,000 insurgents had been taken prisoner. He said most were Iraqis and no more than two dozen were foreigners.

U.S. troops clashed yesterday with insurgents in Ba'qubah about 65 kilometers north of Baghdad. About 26 insurgents were reported killed in fighting after insurgents overran police stations and attacked other areas of the city.

The U.S. military commander in Mosul, where insurgents control some districts following an uprising, said the situation there is "tense, but certainly not desperate."

Saboteurs blew up a pipeline yesterday, shutting down Iraqi oil exports from the north. An oil-storage and -pumping station in northern Iraq was also set ablaze.

An audiotape purportedly from Iraq's most wanted militant, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, urged militants to mobilize against U.S.-led forces to stop them from attacking other cities after Al-Fallujah.


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

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