Cease-Fire Agreement Reached In Fallujah; 13 U.S. troops Killed In Iraq
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2004 U.S., coalition and Iraqi officials have agreed "to implement a full and unbroken cease-fire" in the city of Fallujah, chief Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor said today in Baghdad.
The agreement, Senor told reporters at a press briefing, was reached over a series of meetings over the past several days.
The cease-fire agreement, he noted, features several points:
- Coalition forces will allow "unfettered" access to Fallujah General Hospital for treatment of sick and injured.
- All parties agreed to provide for the removal and burial of the dead, as well as providing food and medicine in isolated areas of the city.
- The start of an evening curfew will be moved from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to enable Fallujah religious functionaries to conduct services.
- Measures will be implemented to provide passage of official ambulances throughout the city via checkpoints.
- Medical, technical and security personnel will be allowed access throughout Fallujah to conduct their work.
"In due course, consideration will be given to allowing additional civilians to enter the city," Senor said, starting with 50 families per day, beginning April 20.
The cease-fire also calls for Fallujah citizens and groups to turn in all illegal weapons, Senor noted, including mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, grenades, sniper rifles, surface-to-air missiles, and other banned ordnance and associated ammunition.
Those who give up their weapons voluntarily will not be prosecuted for weapons violations, Senor said, and unarmed individuals won't be attacked.
Senor said major hostilities could resume in Fallujah if cease-fire tenets aren't met.
The parties to the cease-fire agreement also agreed to the necessity of restoring order in Fallujah, Senor noted. Therefore, he said, joint U.S.- coalition-Iraqi security forces would resume routine patrols within the city.
The agreement, Senor said, also calls for the urgent "re-formation of the Iraqi police force and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps" in Fallujah.
Iraqi security forces, Fallujah's residents and coalition forces, Senor told reporters, "must move to eliminate remaining foreign fighters, criminals and drug users from Fallujah in order for security and stability to occur."
While U.S.-coalition forces "do not intend to resume offensive operations" if all persons inside Fallujah turn in their heavy weapons, Senor said, "individual violators will be dealt with on an individual basis."
All parties to the cease-fire "reaffirmed the absolute need to restore law and order in the city as quickly as possible," Senor said. This includes rebuilding the city's judicial system, he added, and the investigation of criminal acts, to include the March 31 killing and debasement of four American contractors and the attack on the Iraqi police station in February.
Regarding the two U.S. soldiers captured in Iraq -- Army Sgt. Elmer C. Krause and Pfc. Matt Maupin now being held hostage, Senor noted the U.S. government "is putting everything behind the pursuit of the hostage takers and the safe release of the hostages."
"We will put our best intelligence resources behind that effort; we will put our best military resources behind that effort," Senor continued. "The safe release of hostages taken in Iraq is a high priority."
Elsewhere in Iraq, five U.S. Marines were killed April 17 in fighting in Husaybah, according to a Combined Joint Task Force 7 news release. About 25 to 30 of the enemy died in the exchange.
And eight U.S. soldiers died and several were wounded in Iraq from April 16 to18, according to U.S. Central Command news releases:
April 18 -- A soldier assigned with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed by enemy action in Anbar province.
April 17 -- Three soldiers with a 1st Armored Division convoy were killed during an enemy ambush near Diwaniyah. An improvised explosive device killed a soldier in eastern Baghdad. One soldier was killed and two were injured when their Abrams tank rolled over in northern Baghdad, and a soldier was electrocuted while working on a power generator near Samarra.
April 16 -- A 1st Infantry Division soldier was killed and two were wounded when their patrol touched off an anti-tank mine near Tikrit.
Identities of killed and wounded service members are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.