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US General Unharmed Following Fallujah Attack - 2004-02-12

The top-ranking U.S. general in the Middle East has escaped unharmed from an attack west of Baghdad, in the restive Sunni triangle.

General John Abizaid was visiting Iraqi troops with another U.S. general when rocket-propelled grenades were launched at his convoy in the town of Fallujah. A U.S. spokesman said no one was injured in the attack.

"Today at 13:30 in Fallujah, General Abizaid and General Swannack were visiting the local Iraqi Civil Defense Corps Batallion headquarters compound when three rocket-propelled grenades were fired at their convoy from rooftops in the vicinity," explained Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. "No soldier or civilians were injured, and both coalition and Iraqi civil defense soldiers returned fire and pursued the attackers."

Officials say the attackers were not captured.

General Abizaid was in Fallujah with Major General Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is deployed in the area. He reportedly said the attackers were a small group and were not representative of the rest of the people in the area.

General Abizaid is the commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and is in Iraq for a routine visit. He flew out of Iraq later, returning to the main U.S. military base in the region in Qatar.

Fallujah has been one of the most troublesome and violent towns in Iraq for U.S. soldiers. Considered a hotbed of anti-American activity, Fallujah is an area where Saddam Hussein drew a lot of support, and attacks on U.S. patrols have become very common.

General Abizaid is not the first high-profile American official to come under attack in Iraq. Last year, top U.S. administrator Paul Bremer's convoy was attacked, and rockets were fired at the hotel where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.