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Thursday, Apr. 08, 2004 at 7:20 AM
As the U.S. occupation forces pound civilian targets in Falluja with tank fire and a U.S. "Apache" heliocopter fires missiles at a Mosque (killing 40 gathered for prayer), the Aljazeera news agency are the only ones to have a crew in the city under seige. Cameramen Layf Muftaq and Hasan Walid, sound engineer Sayf al-Din and correspondent Hamid Hadid, are risking their lives to report on events as they occur. Some of their photos have now been published on the Aljazeera website (see link). The photo on this page by the Aljazeera crew shows one of the "insurgents" killed by U.S. occupation forces in the most recent fighting in Falluja.
iraqi_child.jpg, image/jpeg, 350x250
Fierce fighting in Falluja
Wednesday 07 April 2004
Mansur: Casualties are mounting in the besieged town
Fierce street battles are raging in Falluja between resistance fighters defending the town and US occupation forces, who are launching missile attacks in and around residential areas.
Hospital sources said at least 52 Iraqis were killed and 90 injured in attacks on the besieged town of Falluja on Wednesday, said Aljazeera correspondent in Falluja, Ahmad Mansur.
"Iraqi medic Rafi al-Isawai said the number of casualities is expected to double," he added.
Another 53 Iraqis died in attacks overnight in the besieged town which American forces sealed off on Sunday. "More than 200 Iraqis, including women children, were injured in the past 24 hours," said Mansur.
Twenty-five of those killed were from one family.
"The situation is getting worse," said Mansur. "An ambulance carrying casualties was attacked on its way to the medical centre. The American forces closed the road leading to the city's hospital and everybody walking in the streets of Falluja is now becoming a target."
The US forces have evacuated the factories in the industrial area of the city and asked the workers to leave and not come back until a day or two, he added.
The correspondent also confirmed that Abd al-Aziz al-Samari mosque, where the office of the Association of Muslim Clerics is, was attacked and among the casualties were a family sitting in a car parked behind the mosque.
"The American troops are still in the outside section of Falluja and they have not reached the centre of the city yet," said Mansur. Earlier, speaking live from a rooftop in the tense town, Mansur said the hospital is struggling to cope with the rising casualties. "They are attacking residential neighbourhoods," he said as US warplanes swooped over the area and fired rockets. Intense gunfire could be heard from the streets.
"The residents of Falluja are asking where is the (US-appointed) Iraqi Governing Council," said an obviously shaken Mansur. "They are asking why the Iraqis are not protecting them."
"Residents of Falluja call on the Arab world to intervene and lift the siege on this town of 300,000. They ask where are the Arab leaders in this time?" he said before throwing himself to the ground as a plane flew overhead.
Falluja has come under fierce US attack in the past three days as occupation forces sealed off the town, a centre for anti-occupation activity, in an effort to crush the resistance.
US marines tried for a third time to take control of the town but were forced to retreat.
The Aljazeera crew, including cameramen Layf Muftaq and Hasan Walid, sound engineer Sayf al-Din and correspondent Hamid Hadid, are the only media personnel inside the town. US forces besieged the town after last week's ambush in which four security guards were killed and their bodies mutilated and dragged through the streets by Iraqi mobs.
EMERGENCY IRAQ PROTEST
Friday, April 9
Westwood Federal Building (Wilshire & Veteran)
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