American marines are adopting a cautions approach as they close in on the last remaining clusters of insurgents in Falluja. The battle for the Iraqi city may be in its final phase but military commanders are anxious not to add to the 22 US and five Iraqi soldiers killed so far.
Despite predictions of imminent conquest they are still meeting resistance in the one southern part of Falluja where the Pentagon says insurgeants are making their final stand. Amid the ruins grims discoveries are made. US commanders claimed a basement showed evidence of torture having being carried out there. US and Iraqi government troops stormed Falluja in a bid to suppress what until now has been the main base for insurgents in the country. But the operation has sparked a militant backlash in other areas, primarily Mosul where rebels overran police stations and took over parts of the northern city. As the US begins to fly out the 170 American troops injured in the battle aid organisatiions have been expressing mounting concern about Falluja residents still trapped in the city. Their situation has been described as “catastrophic” by the Iraqi Red Crescent.