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Security Operations Continue in Fallujah

American Forces Press Service

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Oct. 18, 2004 – Troops from Multinational Force Iraq continued increased security operations Oct. 17 to isolate anti-Iraqi forces in Fallujah. Officials said the operations were designed to disrupt the enemy fighters' ability to "plan, coordinate and execute criminal acts against the Iraqi people and government."

Iraqi security forces and U.S. Marines with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force continue to man positions outside the city and have established vehicle checkpoints. Since Oct. 14, the combined force has conducted coordinated actions to locate, isolate and defeat terrorist groups, officials said. The effort is part of an operation to stop terrorists from conducting attacks throughout Iraq.

During operations Oct. 17, Marines returned insurgent small-arms, fire, mortar and rocket-propelled-grenade fire. The Marines engaged with small-arms fire, crew-served weapons, main tank guns, and artillery. The attack originated from positions and buildings in eastern and southern Fallujah, U.S. military officials said.

Insurgents then fired accurate and sustained small arms fire that escalated to heavy machine-gun and indirect fire during a firefight lasting just over nine hours.

After close-air support was requested and several precision-guided munitions were dropped, insurgents were seen putting their mortar tubes into a taxi and pickup trucks then driving to a mosque. Witnesses saw them entering the mosque. Marines did not fire upon the mosque.

The strikes successfully took out the buildings in which insurgents were located. Other strikes interdicted mortar teams and anti-Iraqi forces, officials said. Multiple fighter aircraft, expending various types of precision munitions, were used on more than 10 insurgent positions. The air strikes began late morning and continued into the afternoon.

"MNF-I is committed to assisting the Iraqi Interim Government in stabilizing the country and setting the conditions for a revitalized and independent Iraq," a spokesman said.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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