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Fallujah Rebels Warned to Turn in Weapons - 2004-04-22

A U.S. general has warned insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah they have only days to give up their weapons or face a renewed U.S. offensive.

Lieutenant General James Conway says guerillas have turned in only a small number of useless weapons under an agreement reached on Monday.

He said time is running out and that Marines surrounding the town could resume operations aimed at flushing out the insurgents.

Under the deal reached Monday, U.S. Marines agreed to hold back from storming the city if the insurgents handed over their heavy weapons. U.S. forces began a crackdown on Fallujah earlier this month after four U.S. private security guards were killed and their bodies mutilated.

Despite the cease-fire, Marines and insurgents fought gunbattles Wednesday that the Marines said left nine insurgents dead.

In a separate development, Iraqi police say a foreign civilian has been shot and killed in Baghdad. The attack happened Thursday, in the Adhamiyah area, a Sunni Muslim stronghold.

And Swiss officials say two Swiss citizens have been freed in Iraq after two days of being held hostage. No other details were released.

On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that escalating violence in Iraq may keep the world body from resuming work in the country.

Mr. Annan made the remark after a series of suicide car bombings in and near the southern Iraqi city of Basra killed at least 68 people -- many of them school children.