CNN U.S. Jets Strike Fallujah Ahead of Assault By JIM KRANE NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Long convoys of American soldiers rolled onto a dust-blown base on the outskirts of Fallujah as U.S. warplanes intensified attacks in preparation for a wider assault on the city, a symbol of Iraqi resistance. More than 10,000 American soldiers and Marines massed for an expected offensive, and Iraq's prime minister warned the ``window is closing'' to avert an attack. U.S. planes dropped five 500-pound bombs at several targets in Fallujah early Saturday, including a factory as well as suspected weapons caches. The drone of U.S. aircraft heading toward Fallujah could be heard over Baghdad. The U.S. military said the main highway into Fallujah has now been completely sealed off. Residents reached by telephone Friday said the air raids were the most intense in months, and that, as well as bombs, U.S. planes dropped leaflets urging women and children to leave Fallujah, a city of some 300,000 people 40 miles west of Baghdad. As pressure mounted on the guerrilla stronghold, the insurgents struck back, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding five in a rocket attack. Clashes were reported at other checkpoints around the city and in the east and north of Fallujah late in the day. An AC-130 gunship fired at several targets as U.S. forces skirmished with insurgents, the Army said. American soldiers from Baghdad and Baqouba amassed on the city's outskirts the past three nights. U.S. commanders here have been coordinating plans either to fight their way into the city or isolate it from the rest of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland. If they fight, American troops will face an estimated 3,000 insurgents dug in behind defenses and booby traps. Military planners believe there are about 1,200 hardcore insurgents in Fallujah - at least half of them Iraqis. They are bolstered by insurgent cells with up to 2,000 fighters in the surrounding towns and countryside. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi must give the final go-ahead for the offensive, part of a campaign to curb the insurgency ahead of national elections planned for January. Sunni clerics have threatened to boycott the election if Fallujah is attacked, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned U.S., British and Iraqi authorities that a military campaign and ``increased insurgent violence'' could put elections at risk. U.S. aircraft struck targets around Fallujah in numerous raids starting late Thursday and continuing into Friday. Targets included a system of barriers rigged with bombs, a command post, suspected fighting positions and a weapons cache, according to Lt. Nathan Braden of the 1st Marine Division. Late Friday, U.S. jets went into action again, striking several targets in the Jolan sector of northern Fallujah, residents said. Jolan is considered one of the most heavily defended neighborhoods in the city. As the night dragged on, the attack was expanded to targets in many areas of the city, according to residents. Artillery fire could also be heard. U.S. troops set up checkpoints along major routes into the city, and Marines fired on a civilian vehicle that did not stop, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding her husband, according to the U.S. military and witnesses. The car didn't notice the checkpoint, witnesses said. ``Marines fire upon vehicles only as a last resort when verbal and visual warnings to stop fail. Such was the case today,'' the Marines said in a statement. Allawi has demanded that Fallujah hand over foreign extremists, including Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers, and allow government troops to enter the city. ``We intend to liberate the people and to bring the rule of law to Fallujah,'' Allawi said in Brussels after meeting with European Union leaders. ``The window really is closing for a peaceful settlement.'' Allawi, a secular Shiite Muslim with strong ties to the CIA and State Department, urged Europeans leaders to forge a ``close and strategic partnership'' with Iraq and called on NATO to step up plans to train 1,000 officers a year for the Iraqi military. EU leaders responded with a nearly $40 million offer to fund elections, including training for Iraqi vote monitors. French President Jacques Chirac - who opposed the Iraq war - skipped a meeting with Allawi to fly to Abu Dhabi to pay his respects to the new president of the United Arab Emirates, who took over after the death of his father. Many saw it as a snub of Allawi, although Chirac denied that, describing his relations with the new Iraqi authorities as ``excellent.'' Allawi faces strong opposition to a Fallujah offensive from the Sunni minority. The Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars has threatened to boycott the January election and mount a nationwide civil disobedience campaign. A public outcry over civilian casualties prompted the Bush administration to call off a siege in April, after which Fallujah fell under control of radical clerics. In hopes of assuaging public outrage, Iraqi authorities have earmarked $75 million to repair the damage in Fallujah, Marine Maj. Jim West said. The strategy is similar to one used when U.S. troops restored government authority in the Shiite holy city Najaf in August after weeks of fighting with militiamen.
I'm lying when I say trust me
8th June 2004
3,000 Iraqi's hiding in there? I'm predicting a bloody mess by the end of this one :cort:
Master of Reality3,000 Iraqi's hiding in there? I'm predicting a bloody mess by the end of this one :cort:
Yea, but we really need to take Fallujah
I'm way cooler than n0e (who isn't though?)
14th April 2004
many innocent civilians are going to be caught between
elrosmany innocent civilians are going to be caught between
Yes, they should flee now if they can, this is going to be pretty rough.
thats what happens in war, but it must be done
Well if they know it is going to get bombed, all the innocent people should leave, therefore the only people left are insurgents. Plenty of time for people who are not involved to leave.
I'm way cooler than n0e (who isn't though?)
14th April 2004
it is very easy to say "level the city" isnt it ?
7th December 2003
ScOrPYWell if they know it is going to get bombed, all the innocent people should leave, therefore the only people left are insurgents. Plenty of time for people who are not involved to leave.
As if the insurgents will just let everyone leave...