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US forces bombard Falluja, Baghdad car bomb kills seven

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US forces bombard Falluja, Baghdad car bomb kills seven


US forces and Iraqi militants engaged in heavy fighting on Sunday on the eastern edge of Falluja, west of Baghdad. Marines said insurgents were seen taking refuge in a mosque. They claim they made seven precision air strikes. Hospital officials say four civilians, one of them a child, were killed. The ferocious assault is apparently designed to bring the city back under the control of Iraq’s pro-US government, which has demanded that residents hand over the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In an unverified internet statement, Zarqawi’s group, blamed for a series of kidnappings and suicide bombings, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, saying it had restored contact with the al-Qaeda network.

Western intelligence officials reportedly believe up to 50 Syrian-based former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime are playing a crucial role in directing many of the attacks against coalition troops and Iraqi security forces. Last night a car bomb in Baghdad, outside a cafe where Iraqi policemen were apparently having a Ramadan meal, killed seven people. During the day, in Baghdad’s Sadr City area, two people died in a mortar strike on a stadium serving as a collection point for weapons belonging to Mehdi Army militiamen.

An arms-for-cash deal between the fighters loyal to radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and US forces has been extended until Tuesday.

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