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U.S. Forces Storm Into Western Fallujah

November 8, 2004

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) _ With warplanes and artillery pounding the city, U.S. troops fought their way into the western outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, seizing a hospital and two bridges over the Euphrates River in the first stage of a major assault on the insurgent stronghold.

Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi vowed that ``rule of law″ would be restored to Fallujah ``very soon,″ saying militants in the city were not interested in a peaceful settlement and accusing them of using mosques and hospitals as refuges.

Throughout the morning, artillery and mortars pounded targets inside the city and on its outskirts. A U.S. jet swooped low to fire rockets at insurgent positions on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. An AC-130 gunship raked the city all night long with cannon fire, and and before dawn, four 500-pound bombs were dropped, raising orange fireballs over the city rooftops.

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