Troops Under Heavy Fire in Fallujah, Two Helicopters Downed


Richard Moore


Falluja Troops Under Heavy Fire BBC

Thursday 11 November 2004

US marines in Falluja have come under sustained attack from
several different directions in the headquarters they have set
up in the Iraqi city.

The BBC's Paul Wood, who is at the scene, said there was
sniper fire from four or five points on the horizon.

The insurgents may have regrouped, he says, after US-led
troops took over large parts of the city.

Another BBC correspondent says troops have pulled back from
the city hospital, captured on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, two US Cobra helicopters were hit by small-arms and
rocket fire in separate incidents and forced to land.

The crews of both aircraft were rescued unhurt, the US
military said, but some reports suggest one of the pilots was
hit with small-arms fire.

In Baghdad, at least 17 people were killed in a car bomb in a
busy shopping area on Thursday morning.

In other developments in Iraq:

US-led troops find three Iraqi contractors and an Iraqi
taxi-driver in Falluja believed to be held as hostages

Masked insurgents in the northern city of Mosul attack several
police stations and loot weapons and ammunition, before
setting at least two of them on fire

Kirkuk Governor Abdulrahman Mustafa escapes an assassination
attempt in the northern city, but several people are injured
in the bomb attack on his convoy.


Our correspondent says the US marines have had to call in four
air strikes as they came under heavy fire in central Falluja.

Insurgents appear to have got to the perimeter of the
headquarters, he says.

At the same time, a rifle company of marines has been pushing
out into the city, going literally house to house to try to
clear out the insurgents.

But the company came under continuous fire as soon as it left
the base.

US-led forces said earlier on Thursday they had rid more than
70% of the city of insurgents in the battle.

Pockets of Resistance

The rebels are said to be disorganised and leaderless, but
still dangerous.

The BBC's Paul Wood, who is embedded with US marines in
Falluja, says pockets of resistance remain even in areas the
US and Iraqi forces have captured.

Troops are coming under sniper fire all over the city, he

Villages to the west of the city, thought by the US to be
clear of insurgents, are also reporting sniper, mortar and
rocket-propelled grenade fire.

Concerns are growing about the humanitarian situation in and
around Falluja.

Red Crescent spokeswoman Firdoos al-Ubadi said Falluja was a
"disaster", with doctors unable to reach most Iraqi casualties
and medical equipment virtually non-existent.

There is little information on the number of military or
civilian casualties in Falluja.


Two Marine Helicopters Shot Down in Iraq 
The Associated Press

Thursday 11 November 2004

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - The U.S. military said Thursday two U.S.
Marine attack helicopters were shot down in separate incidents
near Fallujah and their crews were rescued without injuries.

Both Super Cobra helicopters were hit with rocket-propelled
grenades and small arms fire and were forced to make hard
landings, the military said.

One of the choppers was hit 9 miles northwest of Fallujah, the
other was hit a mile southeast of the city.

The pilots were not injured, and other helicopters rescued
them from the area, the military said. Military quick reaction
forces were sent to secure the sites.

The helicopters normally carry two-man crews.


© : t r u t h o u t 2004 

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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

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