Published September 23, 2003
FALLUJAH, Iraq – Iraqi police said U.S. forces carried out a combined air and ground attack north of Fallujah (search) early Tuesday, killing three people and wounding three others. The military said it knew of only one death.
The fight involved the 82nd Airborne Division (search) and started after U.S. soldiers were attacked, said Spec. Nicole Thompson (search). She said the attackers ran into a building and ground troops called in air support. One guerrilla fighter was killed.
The incident occurred in the village of al-Jisr, north of Fallujah, one of the most dangerous cities in the so-called "Sunni Triangle (search)," the region where support for Saddam Hussein runs strongest and where U.S. troops have met stiffest resistance.
"At 2:10 a.m., we heard three explosions at different times. About 20 minutes later, two martyrs arrived at the hospital. They died before they arrived. The third died in the hospital. There were three injured," a police lieutenant at the Fallujah General Hospital, who gave his name only as Nabil, told Associated Press Television News.
Helicopters could be seen over the region of the fight at dawn Tuesday. There were two big craters in courtyards of the houses that were involved, indicating bombs of some sort had been dropped.
In Baghdad Monday, the U.S.-picked Governing Council voted to evict to Arab satellite broadcasting companies from Iraq, said Iraqi National Congress spokesman Entifadh K. Qanbar. The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and Dubai-based Al-Arabiya have given blanket coverage of events in Iraq, often highly critical of the U.S.-led occupation of the country.
American administrator L. Paul Bremer, who chose the 25-member council, holds a veto over its actions, but he is in Washington testifying before Congress about the Bush Administration's request for $87 billion next year to support the military and reconstruction effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We have not been advised officially of such a decision. Our office is still open, our people are still working. It's business as usual," Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said in Qatar.
In Dubai, an Al-Arabiya spokesman said he had heard nothing about the vote and would have no comment until the network received official notification.
On Tuesday, President Bush was to address the U.N. General Assembly to urge the international community to support his plan for steady transition to democratic rule in Iraq.
Bush, mindful of impatience with the U.S. occupation, may disclose he is asking Ahmed Chalabi, this month's president of the Iraqi Governing Council, to prepare a timetable for transition to democracy, diplomatic sources said in advance of Bush's speech.
In an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, Chalabi expressed gratitude to the Bush administration for toppling Saddam Hussein, but demanded that the Governing Council be given at least partial control of the finance and security ministries and rejected the idea of more foreign troops for Iraq.
"They can start by putting Iraqis to be in joint control, with the coalition, of Iraqi finances," Chalabi said in New York ahead of the U.N. meeting. "All of these are measures that would demonstrate increasing sovereignty in Iraq."
Asked when the changes should take place, he replied, "Right away."
On Monday, the U.S. military denied its soldiers fired on a wedding party in Fallujah Sept. 17, killing a 14-year-old boy and wounding six others. Witnesses to the alleged incident said the soldiers opened fire, apparently believing they were under attack when guests at the wedding fired their guns in celebration.
"There was no (U.S. military) unit where this supposedly occurred," military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo said.