Insurgents box is shrinking in Fallujah


As many as 1,000 insurgents have been killed in the six-day battle for Falluja, an operation that is "almost finished," Iraqi National Security Adviser Kasim Dawood said Saturday.

Dawood said 200 insurgents have been captured and Falluja is "liberated except for some pockets."

In southern Falluja -- a stronghold for fighters loyal to wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- a U.S. military commander said his unit has cornered the enemy and he expects to have complete control of the area later in the day.

"As of this morning, their box has shrunk to 1,000 meters by 500 meters and it will be gone by 2 p.m. (6 a.m. ET)," according to Lt. Col. Pete Newell, commander of Task Force 2-2 of the 1st Infantry Division.


Insurgents in groups of five to 20 have been surrendering in northeast Falluja where the U.S. military is in control, said Col. Craig Tucker, commander of 7th Regimental Combat Team of the 1st ID.

Overnight, Task Force 2-2 elements cleared two blocks of the southern sector, finding significant weapons caches in five houses -- including rocket-propelled grenades and bomb-making materials, Newell said.

U.S. military aircraft provided cover for house-to-house searches conducted by the Marines and Iraqi security forces

The battle, undertaken to wipe out what the U.S. military regards as an insurgent command-and-control center, continued to rage during the evening hours as troops went from building to building to uncover weapons caches, tunnels and bunkers.
The victory if Fallujah is important for several reasons, but one of the most important is that it destroys the myth that US forces cannot win in an urban setting. Insurgents have deluded themselves into believing that asymetrical warfare fought out of cities could defeat US forces. They no longer have that thought to comfort them in their defeat. What this does is push them closer to the realization that their dreams will never be realized. It pushes them close to having to accept the reality of their defeat. It pushes Iraq closer to peace. It is a peace that would never have come without their defeat.


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