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US, Iraqi Troops Occupy Fallujah as Violence Spreads Other Cities


American and Iraqi forces are almost entirely in control of Fallujah, after a week of fighting in which 38 American troops, six Iraqi soldiers and an estimated 1,200 insurgents have been killed. But the military victory of Fallujah is being overshadowed by other setbacks. Violence has spread to other Iraqi cities; a US Marine is under investigation for the shooting of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi fighter; and the Iraqi Red Crescent claims civilians in Fallujah are suffering from food and medical shortages.

American and Iraqi forces have begun military operations to secure parts of Mosul that have been taken over by insurgents in the last few days. Bridges to the city were closed, and U.S. forces began securing police stations and returning them to the control of Iraqi police.

Mosul is one of several Iraqi cities in the north-western Sunni area of Iraq which have witnessed severe clashes between insurgents and American and Iraqi forces, in the last week. Gunmen overran police stations, bridges and political offices in the city. The Mosul police chief was fired after it appeared some of the city's police force failed to oppose the insurgents.

There have also been clashes in Baqouba, Buhriz, Suwayrah and Ramadi. At least five car bombs targeted American troops, Monday. In Buhriz, gunmen kidnapped the city's police chief and shot him dead when local police officers refused to surrender their station. One American soldier was killed and another wounded, Tuesday, when insurgents attacked their convoy in central Iraq.

The violence across Iraq, in the last week, is apparently in response to the assault on

the insurgent stronghold, Fallujah. That city is almost entirely under American and Iraqi control now, although insurgents there were "fighting to the death" according to a U.S. military official. 320 American soldiers have been wounded in the operation. A U.S. Marine has been pulled from the battlefield and is under investigation after he allegedly was filmed by a news crew shooting a wounded and unarmed Iraqi fighter in a mosque in Fallujah, Saturday.

The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates at least 150 families are inside Fallujah and are in need of food and medical supplies. A Red Crescent convoy attempting to enter the city was turned away by U.S. forces. A statement from Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's office says it is clear there are very few civilians in Fallujah and denies they are suffering from any shortages.

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