U.S. Forces Storm Into Western Fallujah
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.