Officials say at least 42 insurgents have been killed so far. Two U.S. Marines were killed in a vehicle accident. The American and Iraqi forces are trying to take back the city -- from insurgents who consolidated their of control of Fallujah, despite a previous truce. U.S. Marines attacked Fallujah in April, but pulled back after a negotiated settlement. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says this assault will end in a decisive victory. "I cannot imagine that it would stop without being completed," he said.
But Mr. Rumsfeld also said he would not call it the final battle against terrorists in Iraq. The Defense Secretary made the comments while briefing reporters at the Pentagon Monday. He also said there will not be large numbers of civilian casualties in this offensive.
Mr. Rumsfeld said gaining control of Fallujah is essential to a peaceful Iraq.
At a Baghdad news conference earlier Monday, Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said he had approved launching the offensive.
He also visited Iraqi forces hours before the assault began. He vowed to restore the rule of law in Fallujah.
Meanwhile, a wave of attacks across Baghdad Monday killed at least 10 people. At least three people were killed when a bomb exploded outside this Orthodox church. That blast also set a neighboring house on fire. Elsewhere in the capital city Monday, there were two suicide bombings and an insurgent attack that killed an American soldier.