Major Developments in Iraq
Major developments Thursday in Iraq:
_ U.S. Marines announced an agreement to end a bloody, nearly monthlong siege of Fallujah. Hours later, however, explosions and gunfire were heard in Fallujah, and warplanes circled over the city. Under the deal, American forces will pull back, and an all-Iraqi force will enter the city Friday and provide security. It will consist of up to 1,100 Iraqi soldiers led by a former general from Saddam Hussein’s military, Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne said.
_ Elsewhere, 10 U.S. soldiers were killed, eight in a car bombing south of Baghdad. The two others were killed in a convoy attack in Baghdad and roadside bomb in Baqoubah, north of the capital.
_ Gunmen shot and killed a foreign civilian, believed to be an Australian, in Basra and seriously wounded his driver, Iraqi police said.
_ Hundreds of people from across Italy gathered for a peace march near St. Peter’s Square demanded by kidnappers of three Italians in Iraq. The march has been promoted by the families of the captives, who have been threatened with death unless Italians stage a ``huge demonstration″ in Rome to denounce the government’s involvement in Iraq.
_ During a ceremony marking the official end of the Spanish mission, Spain’s defense minister said Madrid will not send any more soldiers to Iraq.
_ Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that support among Americans for the war is declining. ``When lives are lost people start to wonder about it, and it is reflected in the polls,″ Powell said.
_ Former members of Saddam’s security service are believed to be conducting a loosely coordinated campaign of bombings and attacks that they prepared even before the U.S. invasion last year, a defense official said, citing an intelligence report.