Commanders Pleased with Fallujah Progress
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2004 Iraqi and U.S. military commanders in Fallujah, Iraq, said today they are pleased with operations in the city, but more remains to be done.
Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul Qadar Mohammed Jassem Mohan and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Sattler said at a news conference that U.S. and Iraqi troops are rooting out insurgents and foreign terrorists in the city.
Sattler would not say the attack into the city has broken the back of the resistance. But he did say he believes the enemy forces "are not able to communicate, to work out any coordination and are now in small pockets, blind moving throughout the city."
"And we will continue to hunt them down and destroy them," he added.
Sattler, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said Iraqi and U.S. forces are reducing those pockets. "They were moving into each and every building on their own, clearing those buildings, finding the weapons, disposing of the weapons and capturing or killing those insurgents who stayed behind," Sattler said. He and Mohan had just come from the battleground when they briefed media in the Pentagon via a video link.
Mohan remembered the 49 Iraqi soldiers murdered by insurgents last month. "For this, the Iraqi armed forces, they don't want a revenge, but they want to get rid of insurgents, the evil, the murderer," he said through a interpreter.
Sattler said the Iraqi troops are doing well. Mohan said the troops are eager to be trained and equipped and "to take over for our friends, the Multinational Force. We wanted the Iraqi armed forces, the security forces to say what the Iraqi dream is all about. We wish the people of Iraq to live in peace and like any other nation and not to be killed in the street. What we are doing as soldiers is a small price for our country."
Sattler said U.S. Marines and soldiers will continue to pursue the "terrorists who have stolen Fallujah from the Fallujan people. And in support of our brothers in the Iraqi armed forces, we will not stop till our mission has been completed."
The generals said the coalition is accelerating the operation in Fallujah.
The coalition strategy in Fallujah was to seal off the town. "As we moved into the town, some of the fighters did, in fact, resist," Sattler said.
But the coalition forces backed enemy forces into pockets, and forces that attempted to cross from one pocket to another were killed or captured as they moved back and forth. "So, as we swept through, we feel very comfortable that none of them moved back through towards the north or escaped out to the flanks," Sattler said.
He said the fighting was very close and very violent, "and the warriors across all coalition forces and the Iraqi forces have displayed great courage and have stopped the enemy in small numbers or in larger numbers as they attacked."
Sattler said the troops' mission is the liberation of the entire city of Fallujah. The U.S. and Iraqi troops will ensure there are no safe havens for terrorists and insurgents in the city. Once the city is in coalition hands, the Iraqi interim government will re-establish the rule of law in the city. The coalition will then follow on with reconstruction funds.