23 December 2004 -- A first wave of residents who fled the fighting in Al-Fallujah are expected today to start the process of returning to the war-shattered Iraqi city.
Interim Iraqi government officials say about 2,000 heads of families from Al-Fallujah's western Andalus neighborhood will be allowed to examine their houses to decide if they want to return to the city, which is still the scene of some fighting.
The interim government says that returning Fallujah families will receive immediate assistance of $100 each, and be eligible for compensation of up to $10,000 for property damaged in last month's fighting between U.S.-led forces and insurgents.Mosul Blast Under Investigation
U.S. military officials say an investigation has been opened into how an apparent suicide bomber was able to get inside the heavily protected U.S. base in the northern city of Mosul, where 22 people -- including 14 American soldiers - were killed in an explosion in a dining tent on 21 December.
Meanwhile, as many as nine people -- Iraqi forces and civilians -- were reportedly killed yesterday in a vehicle blast at a checkpoint operated by Iraqi forces near Latifiya, south of Baghdad.
Reports said the explosion was apparently detonated by a suicide vehicle bomber.
(Reuters/AFP/AP/dpa)For more on events in Iraq, see RFE/RL's dedicated The New Iraq webpage.