American Marines are continuing their assault on Fallujah, and say they have control of 80 per cent of the Iraqi city. Militants are said to be holed up in the south, and are reported to be fighting co-ordinated guerrilla-style attacks on US tanks and armoured vehicles. It is not known how many Iraqi or foreign fighters have died, but around 18 Americans and five Iraqi government troops have been killed.
Elsewhere in Iraq insurgents have launched repeated deadly attacks on US targets, especially in Mosul and around Baghdad. Meanwhile thousands of civilians are camping on the outskirts of Fallujah. Aid agencies have called for permission to deliver food, medicine and water to those still in the city. It is now the fourth day of fighting in what is seen as a last-ditch attempt by the Americans to take control before elections scheduled for January.The tense situation for the Coalition comes as one of its members, the Netherlands, reportedly said it would pull its troops out of Iraq in March next year. In a separate development, the Syrian driver who was kidnapped along with two French journalists in August has been found alive in the city of Fallujah. The man was found by US Marines who are carrying out house-to-house searches. Officials say there is no word on the fate of the two reporters, Christian Chesnot and George Malbrunot. The US army says its raid on Fallujah has uncovered several locations where the filming and execution of hostages have been carried out.