Coalition, Iraqis Succeeding in Fallujah, Rumsfeld Says
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, Nov. 12, 2004 The fight in Fallujah, Iraq, is progressing well and will end in success, with Fallujah no longer offering a safe haven for extremists and terrorists, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters traveling here with him Nov. 11.
The secretary offered no specific timetable for coalition and Iraqi troops to assume full control of Fallujah, but he left little doubt that they are well on their way to reaching that objective.
"They have started; they are well along in that task; and they will finish it successfully," he said.
Rumsfeld said he has "no doubt" that some terrorists may have left Fallujah before the offensive, Operation Al Jajr, was launched earlier this week. "But we also know that there are a number of others -- hundreds -- who didn't, and they have been killed," he said. "Others have been captured."
The interim Iraqi government recognized that it had no choice but to ask the coalition to commit its forces to the Fallujah offensive, Rumsfeld said.
"The government of Iraq understands that it is not acceptable to have a safe haven within their country where people oppose the government and attack innocent Iraqis and try to destabilize their government," he said.