FALLUJAH, Iraq – A U.S. Marine warplane bombed suspected militants trying to rebuild a command post in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah (search) on Sunday, and witnesses said six people were killed.
The F-18 Hornet struck the post that was gutted in an earlier bombing run, causing "significant" explosions in a northern district of Fallujah, said Lt. Lyle Gilbert, a Marine spokesman.
"Every time we see them attempting to rebuild, we'll destroy it. It's simple," Gilbert said.
Witnesses said six people died in the airstrike, and at least one corpse was taken to the Fallujah General Hospital. Gilbert had no information on casualties.
American commanders have spoken of a new offensive ahead of Iraq's crucial elections in January. The aim would be to suppress insurgents controlling a number of central (search)Muslim cities, particularly Fallujah, where peace talks with city leaders have broken down.
Fallujah leaders have called on the Iraqi government to pursue a peaceful solution to the military standoff and order a halt to frequent U.S. airstrikes.
Fallujah community leaders also issued a list of other demands, including compensation for damaged property and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the city's outskirts. Fallujah leaders want any Iraqi military units deployed into the city to consist exclusively of Fallujah natives.
The Iraqi government has reportedly rejected the demands.