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Airstrike Targets Fallujah Terror Hideout

June 22, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The United States launched an airstrike Tuesday in Fallujah on a safehouse used by followers of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi _ the second strike against the terror network in three days, the U.S. military said.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S-led coalition’s deputy chief of operations, said the strike involved precision weapons to ``target and destroy″ the safehouse and was based on ``multiple confirmations of actionable intelligence.″

``Wherever and whenever we find elements of the Zarqawi network, we will attack them,″ he said.

U.S. officials offered no casualty figures, but Al-Jazeera television reported that three people were killed and six were wounded. Residents of Fallujah contacted by telephone said the strike hit a parking lot.

Large explosions rocked the restive Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad. Ambulances raced to the area after the 10:30 p.m. blasts. Wounded and dead were being evacuated, said Iraqi Police Col. Mekky Zeidan.

The Saturday attack leveled a building U.S. officials said was a suspected al-Zarqawi safehouse. Fallujah officials claimed the house was owned by an Iraqi family and that no foreign terrorists were there.

Al-Zarqawi, who is thought to have ties to al-Qaida, has been blamed for a string of car bombs across Iraq, including a blast last week that killed 35 people and wounded 145 at an Iraqi military recruiting center in Baghdad.

His Monotheism and Jihad movement carried through its threat to behead South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il after South Korea refused to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

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