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Al-Fallujah Offensive 'Breaks Backs' Of Rebels

19 November 2004 -- A U.S. general has expressed confidence that the U.S.-led offensive in the city of Al-Fallujah has "broken the back" of insurgents and disrupted their activities around Iraq.

Marine Lieutenant General John Sattler said that as a result of the 10-day assault, Al-Fallujah can no longer be used as a "safe haven" where militants can organize attacks.

"We feel right now that we have, as I mentioned, broken the back of the insurgency and we have taken away this safe haven [Al-Fallujah being used by insurgents]," Sattler said.

Sattler said U.S. and allied Iraqi troops had killed some 1,200 militants in Al-Fallujah and captured more than 1,000 others.

The interim Iraqi government has also declared the Al-Fallujah operation a success and pledged that health services in the city will be restored and the housing and reconstruction needs of residents assessed.

Further sporadic gun battles between U.S.-led forces and remaining insurgents were reported yesterday in Al-Fallujah, while bombings and attacks were reported in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baiji, and Baghdad.