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Coalition Forces Continue Anbar Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2004 – Coalition forces continue operations in Iraq's Anbar province, with Marines consolidating their hold on Fallujah and operations taking place in other areas of the region.

Operation Al Fajr continues in Fallujah. U.S. military officials said Iraqi and U.S. forces are working well together. Iraqis have taken the lead in many areas of the city, while in others, U.S. personnel are in front.

Marines captured six high-ranking cell leaders in the town of Haqlaniyah, along the Euphrates River, on Nov. 21. Marines also found arms and munitions.

Earlier, Marines swept through the town of Hit and engaged anti-Iraqi forces.

Military civil affairs teams have set up shop in Fallujah, examining projects that will provide immediate relief to the war-torn city. The teams are also removing safety hazards such as rubble and standing sewage. They are passing out humanitarian supplies and working with Iraqi officials to ensure all receive supplies.

The curfew in the city has been lifted for a four-hour period each day, officials said.

The Iraqi security forces now have 115,000 personnel trained and equipped.

There are 138,000 American troops in Iraq today with another 20,000 providing support from Kuwait. In addition, there are more than 25,000 coalition troops in the country. Officials said the U.S. presence in the country will ramp up in anticipation of the National Assembly elections now set for Jan. 30, 2005.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq press releases.)

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