Foot soldiers combed the smashed and deserted houses in southern Falluja this afternoon after a mechanized unit smashed through the neighborhood, called Shuhada, the day before, routing insurgents in their last major redoubt within the city.How about 350,000 tons of high explosive that the Times noticed was missing the week before the election and implied tht the insurgents were using it to attack US troops?
In house after house, the searches have turned up large caches of weaponry, like artillery shells and mortar rounds, along with electronics for making bombs and mujahedeen literature. Fearing booby traps, the troops generally entered the houses only after tanks rammed through walls or specialists put explosive charges on doors.
As the searches moved southward through the neighborhood, leaving a swath of devastation behind, shooting continued around the city, and at least one marine was killed by a sniper this morning, shot through the head from an area that had been all but obliterated the night before.
But it seemed clear that any further resistance in Falluja would have to come from smaller bands of remaining mujahedeen rather than a coherent fighting force.
"We're sweeping through the city now," said Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, the top Marine commander in Iraq. "We're clearing out pockets of resistance. There are groups numbering from 5 to 30. They're moving too. They're trying to get behind us."
General Natonski added: "People will never appreciate the movement of soldiers down here, what it took to move them and immediately conduct a relief in place with the soldiers. It ought to go down in the history books."