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US, Iraqi Offensive in Samarra Said to be Largely Successful - 2004-10-02

U.S. and Iraqi officials say a military offensive against insurgents in their stronghold of Samarra, north of Baghdad, has been largely successful, and only a few pockets of resistance remain.

Most of Samarra was calm Saturday, except for sporadic gunfire and explosions in the center of the city.

The two-day offensive, intended to eliminate insurgents ahead of January's nationwide election, has resulted in the deaths of one U.S. soldier and more than 100 insurgents.

In Fallujah, U.S. warplanes bombed suspected terrorist hideouts for the second time in 24 hours. Local doctors say seven people died in the earlier strike.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car bomb wounded two U.S. soldiers.

And in several Kurdish cities across northern Iraq, tens of thousands of Kurds demonstrated, demanding an independent Kurdistan with Kirkuk as its capital.