Coalition killed more than 1,000 insurgents, captured 200

Monday, November 15, 2004

BAGHDAD U.S. and Iraqi officials said coalition troops completed their capture of Fallujah on late Saturday. Officials said U.S. and Iraqi troops were conducting mop-up operations that could last several more days.

"Operation Dawn has been achieved," Iraqi Secretary of State for National Security Qassem Daoud said. "We are conducting a clean-up operation of the remaining malignant pockets."

In his briefing, Daoud reported that more than 1,000 insurgents were killed in Fallujah. He said Iraqi and U.S. troops have captured about 200 enemy combatants, many of them foreign Arab nationals.

Later, the U.S. military reported the capture of Fallujah after six days of fighting by about 14,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops. The coalition force battled an estimated 2,500 insurgents, including 500 foreign fighters, Middle East Newsline reported.

Daoud said Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, Iraq's leading fugitive, has fled Fallujah. The Iraqi official said Al Zarqawi's leading aide also escaped the city.

"Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi and Abdullah Junabi have fled, leaving their supporters to taste death," Daoud said.

On Nov. 12, Al Zarqawi posted an audiotape on an Islamist website that urged loyalists to fight the U.S.-led force and pledged that victory would soon be achieved. He did not provide any details on the fighting within the city.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Alawi asserted that the last pockets of resistance in Fallujah were being destroyed. Alawi said he expected military operations in the city to end by Sunday.

"I expect that today [Saturday] or tomorrow all the operations will end," Alawi said. "We still need to clear those who are hidden here or there."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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