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US Military: US, Iraqi Troops Control 70 Percent of Fallujah


U.S. and Iraqi troops pushed deeper into Fallujah, battling through booby-trapped lanes and alleys Wednesday in their operation to retake the city from insugents.

News reports cited U.S. military officers in the area as saying coalition troops now control almost 70 percent of the city. The officers say there are still several pockets of resistance.

Senior U.S. commander Lieutenant General Thomas Metz said Tuesday coalition forces destroyed the insurgents' outer ring of resistance during the first two days of the assault, but tough urban fighting days were still ahead. He said the most wanted man in Iraq, terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, likely fled the city before the assault.

The U.S. military said 10 American troops and two Iraq soldiers have been killed since the operation began Monday.

The military said insurgent casualties were higher than expected, but it did not provide figures.

Most of Fallujah's residents fled before the offensive.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.