First Published: 2004-04-28

 
Fierce clashes in Fallujah
 

US airstrikes with heavily armed AC-130 aeroplane in Fallujah hit vehicle, building used by insurgents.

 

Middle East Online

By Patrick Moser - CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq

Air support to quell insurgency

Overnight US airstrikes in Fallujah hit a vehicle and a building used by insurgents, a spokesman said Wednesday at the main US Marine base just outside the flashpoint Iraqi city.

"Marines took rocket-propelled grenade and direct fire and called air support to engage a vehicle transporting weapons and personnel," said US Marine Major T.V. Johnson, a spokesman for the US Marines at Camp Fallujah.

He said a heavily armed AC-130 aeroplane "hit the target ... the anti-Iraqi forces fled to a nearby building. The aircraft shot at the building."

Johnson said that in both cases, in addition to the blasts from the airstrikes, there were also "massive secondary explosions."

He said this suggested large quantities of ammunition were stashed both in the vehicle and the building.

He said the AC-130 Specter gunship, which is notably armed with 105 mm. Howitzer guns, is built for precision targeting. "There is no doubt it hit the targets," he said.

The airstrikes were conducted shortly after the US Marines came under fire at 10:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) Tuesday, Johnson said.

AC-130 gunships have previously bombarded rebel positions during the course of more than two weeks of negotiations between the Americans and Iraqis over the siege of Fallujah.

Military officials did not give the exact position of the latest airstrikes but a pool correspondent embedded at a marine position in the city said the fighting occurred in the Jolan neighborhood, considered the stronghold of the insurgents in the Sunni Muslim bastion.

Johnson said a message broadcast from a Fallujah mosque urged residents to take up arms against the occupation forces, despite a shaky truce between the two sides.

The ceasefire agreed earlier this month was extended on Sunday, and officials of the US-led coalition said they planned to stage joint patrols of the city together with local police.

The patrols initially were scheduled to start on Tuesday, but US overseer in Iraq Paul Bremer said on Iraqi television they would start Thursday.

Marine officers on the ground said the decision was based on sensitivity for the birthday of ousted leader Saddam Hussein's, which falls on Wednesday. They also said that there were no plans to patrol Jolan, a densely-packed residential area that is considered too much of a danger zone.

Camp Fallujah also came under mortar attack during the night though no casualties were reported.

The base has often come under fire in the past, but US marines said Tuesday night's mortar attack was the first in about two weeks.

The coalition blames the fighting on "anti-Iraqi forces" they say comprise foreign fighters with possible al-Qaeda connections and former members of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime who are disgruntled at losing their privileges.

The US marines have laid siege to Fallujah since April 5 following the murders of four US civilian contractors in the Sunni Muslim city, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.

 

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Erdogan meddles in German politics

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

Civilians stay on frontlines despite dangers in Raqa

Low-cost attacks a new reality for Europeans

Forces of Libya's Haftar say commander wanted by ICC in detention

Yemen rebels urged to free political commentator

Iranian footballer breaks silence over ban for playing Israelis

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land

Turkey arrests 9 more journalists for alleged ‘Gulen links’

Iran’s Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Saudi Arabia to restart work on Grand Mosque expansion

Algeria reshuffles cabinet, nominates three new ministers

Syria rebels lose heavyweight faction

ICC orders Mali ex-jihadist pay 2.7 m euros for Timbuktu destruction

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops

More than one million South Sudan refugees in Uganda

Beirut, Damascus pledge to boost economic ties

Two killed on Gaza-Egypt border

Qataris to do hajj on Saudi king expenses

Fire breaks out at UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia

Iran military chief in Turkey for talks on Syrian war

Saudi Electricity announces $1.75b in international loans

Israel to strip Jazeera journalist of press credentials

Bahrain state media accuses Qatar of trying to topple regime