Fighting breaks out in Fallujah

AP via Houston Chronicle:

U.S. Marines battled insurgents in Fallujah today with warplanes dropping bombs and tanks shelling suspected guerrilla positions, causing deaths on both sides, as the first 200 residents returned to the battered city.

The fighting comes as the U.S. military began re-examining security measures at bases across Iraq. On Wednesday, top Pentagon officials admitted that an attack that killed 22 people — mostly Americans — at a camp near Mosul was likely carried out by a suicide bomber who infiltrated the camp's dining tent as soldiers ate lunch.

In Fallujah, U.S. F-18 fighter-bombers were seen striking at targets in the city's outskirts. Tank and artillery fire was also heard.

Officials said U.S. Marines were killed but would not specify the number. Several insurgents were also killed, they said.

Authorities had planned today to allow the return of 2,000 residents — the first wave of tens of thousands who want to come back after being displaced by last month's bloody U.S.-led offensive to retake the rebel stronghold. But by the afternoon, only about 200 actually made the trip, some on foot, officials said today.


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