BAGHDAD ø 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
"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
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