Skip to comments.Operation Phantom Fury Live Thread
Posted on 11/08/2004 8:39:55 AM PST by epluribus_2
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - More than 4,000 U.S. Marines and Army troops punched their way into northeastern Fallujah on Monday, kicking off a massive assault dubbed Operation Phantom Fury that seeks to put an end to half a year of insurgent control of the Sunni Muslim city.
The prelude to the assault on the Askari neighborhood was a crushing air and artillery bombardment of the city that rose to a crescendo by Monday evening, with U.S. strike jets dropping bombs around the clock and big guns pounding the city every few minutes with high-explosive shells.
Meanwhile, insurgents in Baghdad and nearby Ramadi tried to keep up the pressure on the coalition forces with new attacks, including one on a Catholic church in the capital.
Earlier Monday U.S. troops had fought their way into the city's western outskirts, seizing two bridges over the Euphrates River and helping Iraqi soldiers take the city's main hospital in the first stage of a major assault on the insurgent stronghold.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
"the Army is blowing up railroad tracks to allow them to go further."
What cant make it over railroad tracks I wonder.
TexKat, or anyone who knows... how are Mr. and Mrs Cee-gar man doing? last i read was the letter posted by Mrs. Cee-gar about his eyes.. Cee-gar has been in my prayers - and his family. i've rarely seen a picture that just makes me smile like this one... handsome handsome... : ) and that grin.. is a killer. i would love to know how he is doing..
That would just be a waste of good sewer pipe. As the bodies decay underneath it over time, the pipe will lose support and be stressed along its length, leading to early failure.
No, far better to douse the dead insurgents in pig fat then set them ablaze. Saves on electricity for streetlights and serves as fuel to keep boilers and generators humming along.
Isn't that what they're doing?
First of all, the UN building was attacked because they foolishly insisted on making themselves a soft target by adamantly refusing to have US military protection placed around their stinkin' building. So the UN damfools were educated about the equal opportunity aspect of murderous puke terrorists.
Secondly, I don't buy that the Sunni's will decide to boycott the elections because of the Fallujah operation, but even if they do, so WHAT!?! Voting is optional in this country too. You don't vote, you have no right whatsoever to complain about the elected officials.
Third, Koffee Annus couldn't care less about any aspect of democratic elections in Iraq. Unless whoever is elected can somehow be made to resume payments and kickbacks to Annan, perhaps. Otherwise all he's concerned with is opposing America at every turn and step in perfect lock-step with his butt-buddy Chirac.
Good article Texkat. (/rant)
You're right, I don't know what I was thinking..they are 9hrs ahead..this was about the time Mike used to e-mail me from Balad..pre-dawn...Who has the best coverage....?
Thats the best Rant of the day imo.
The first one really bothers you. Then if they quit bothering you it is time to get out.
Well, lord love a duck...do you mean to say that Mr Ceegar Guy is a freeper?
Not sure who has the best coverage, I've had it on CNN since I've been home from work. MSNBC's Chris Matthews is probably talking politics. I refuse to look at Bill O'wildy and hear him bellowing his own personal opinion. And presently CNN's Larry King has the first thirty minutes dedicated to Nancy Grace and panel on the Snot Peterson case and then the last 30 minutes with Jerry Lewis. So I am about to switch to some other channel.
How about "Operation Bug-Hunt"? ;-)
Did you read the post about Michael Moore using a clip of Ceegar-Man US Marine in that lying film of his?
Well..forget Fox...it's all politics and Greta is next with the Peterson case....except for hourly updates or alerts, that's it..
One of the first targets in the battle for Falluja is perhaps an unlikely one. Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. Marines and U.S. soldiers, have seized the city's main hospital. But there's more developments unfolding right now.
CNN's Karl Penhaul is embedded with the Marines. Within the past hour, the formal assault has begun, and it's called Operation Phantom Fury.
Karl, update our viewers on what's happening right now.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly fast, it's certainly furious, Wolf. As I look out from a position about two kilometers away, one-and-a-half miles away, I can tell you that parts of Falluja are now on fire. A red glow is lighting up the sky, tracer fire is being traded across parts of the city.
The northeastern part of the city is glowing red. Parts of the city in the northwest are on fire.
Now, before the Marine ground assault began, there was a heavy trade of artillery fire. The U.S. Marines sent in artillery fire, tanks were blasting away at positions, and jets were also bombing targets inside the city. But it seems that the insurgents were holding their guns until the infantrymen, until those men on the ground reached the outer limits of Falluja, and then the firefight began.
There's been a series of explosions, a series -- a continuous series of explosions. It's difficult to see what is causing those, who are causing those. Yes, we can see, we can hear that tanks are firing rounds into the city. Tanks are proceeding the advance by infantrymen. But there seems to be explosions, other explosions which aren't being caused by the artillery or the tanks. An indication possibly that those explosions are being caused by the insurgents.
The tracer fire, we can see tracer fire crisscrossing the sky. Another indication that there is a heavy trade of gunfire, that this fight isn't going all one way. Again, explosions going in and in. And as I say, again, parts of northwest Falluja are on fire at this stage as a result of the fight that is in progress.
For about the last 20, 30 minutes, it has been a constant barrage, explosions, machine gun fire, more explosions. Difficult at this stage, in fact impossible to bring you live pictures of this, Wolf. It seems that the communications, apart from a single local cell phone, have been jammed -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What kind of advantage -- I want to point out also to our viewers, Karl, that the pictures they are seeing are earlier, pictures taken earlier during daylight. Now it's nighttime. It's dark out there. But U.S. forces have a certain advantage using night- vision goggles and other sophisticated equipment that the insurgents clearly don't have.
What do they say to you about the advantage that the U.S. Marines -- and you are embedded with them right now, Karl -- have fighting at night as opposed to day?
PENHAUL: This is one of the reasons obviously why the Marines launched this assault at night. They have night-vision goggles which they believe gives them the upper hand in nighttime conditions.
That said, Marines do admit it is very difficult to make out a lot of contours with those night-vision goggles on. Sometimes it makes their movements a little clumsy. And the type of environment that they are now heading into is totally alien.
This isn't just another city. This is Falluja, a very -- a very Iraqi-type city. It's not the same kind of layout as many of the American cities that these young Marines would be used to. It's a very different kind of a city, a very different kind of a layout.
And we understand that part of the plan is that these Marines won't necessarily follow the main thoroughfares into the city. They will be climbing over walls, breaching walls, climbing across rooftops. And we know from U.S. military intelligence that the whole city may be rigged with bobby-traps.
They believe that car bombs are one threat, suicide bombers are another threat. But U.S. military intelligence analysts also believe that part of the city may have buildings that are packed with explosives and ready to explode.
Interestingly enough as well, as the Marines reach the outer edge of the city, and as the main firefight began, we could hear insurgent fighters chanting in the night, "Allahu Akbar," their Muslim chant of "God is great." Those chants weren't coming from any loudspeaker systems. That was force of numbers. And we could hear that chant more than two kilometers away.
Later on, in the course of the firefight, we heard the chants from some of the mosques, the loudspeakers on the mosques. We again can't make out the Arabic words from this distance, but certainly the chant of "Allahu Akbar" was very clear.
And in fact, as we're now speaking again, we can hear that chant from some of the insurgent fighters. Still heavy trace of gunfire going on, and more fire over the northeastern corner of Falluja now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And where are you, Karl? Without giving us too many specifics, you're embedded with the Marines. But from your vantage point, what can you see?
PENHAUL: We are two kilometers back, about a mile-and-a-half back from the northern edge of the city. We were embedded with Charlie Company of 13 Marines. We -- or that Charlie Company was one of the first infantry units in on the ground.
The northeastern sector that I'm looking straight ahead at is the area that Charlie Company will now be fighting in. We, for safety reasons, Wolf, opted not to go in on this initial ground assault. We decided to stay back and to see what happens because precisely of the threat of booby-traps and these buildings being rigged at night. Even U.S. commanders were saying that their greatest fear are the booby- traps.
Now we are seeing a whole series of explosions across the city, across the north eastern corner. Those seem as if they may be caused by some form of artillery being sent in. But as I say, the exchange of gunfire is so heavy at this stage that it's very difficult to say.
As I say, we are about a mile-and-a-half back, and have a pretty good vantage point. But still certainly not out of range of harm's way.
We certainly are still within distance of any insurgent rockets or any mortars that may be fired this way. Although I think the thought is now that the fight really is concentrated on Falluja's city limits, very little insurgent fire coming out this way -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So, in other words, it's more of a one-way street. The U.S. Marines, the Army, they are sending in the fire, but they're not really receiving a lot from inside. Is that what you are seeing?
PENHAUL: No. The ground -- the ground assault is underway, so infantrymen, U.S. infantrymen are now inside the city. Tanks, we understand, are inside the city, and possibly two armored assault vehicles are in the city.
The fire is intense. There are exchanges of gunfire, outgoing, obviously from Marines and U.S. Army. But there are trades of gunfire, trades of gunfire trades of (INAUDIBLE).
Another whole series of explosions. Unclear at this stage whether that was artillery fire. But to me, from this vantage point, it looked like one explosion started and then there was a whole daisy chain of other explosions. Difficult to say whether that was U.S. fire. Could have been a daisy chain of explosive devices rigged by the insurgents -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And based on the briefings you have received, Karl -- and I know you are well-briefed by U.S. military intelligence -- they anticipate these insurgents will fight to the death, as opposed to simply trying to run away and meld into a civilian crowd. Is that right?
PENHAUL: It is thought that some of the insurgent fighters may have melted away, may have tried to filter out of the city while they still had the chance. But there was also a thought that the hard-core would remain and fight for the death.
That does seem to be what's happening, because you saw some of those images during the day, jets and artillery had pounded targets in the city. And at that phase the insurgents still didn't show their hands.
They did not come out of the city to fight as U.S. Marine commanders had hoped. They stayed inside the city, hoping to lure the Marines into the city limits. The ground assault got underway, and that is when the massive firefight, this massive battle started.
It's been going underway now for probably more than an hour. And there's not been more than about half a second that's quiet. Every second is punctuated with explosions, tracer fire crisscrossing the sky.
More explosions now, as you see. In fact, a few moments ago that daisy chain of explosions that you saw. And still -- and still, we hear through the sound of explosion, we still hear chants going out from the loudspeaker system, but also from the ground, this chant of "Allahu Akbar," "God is great," by the insurgent fighters or the sympathizers or the religious leaders in the city trying to rouse the troops, rouse the insurgents to keep them going, to raise their morale as the Marines push into the city -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Karl, I'm going to ask you one more question, and then I'm going to let you catch your breath. The fire that is being directed at the insurgent strongholds, coming from the ground artillery tanks, or is air power still being used at this late stage now that the formal assault has actually started?
PENHAUL: I can hear aircraft overhead, but I haven't heard in the last half an hour at least aircraft power being brought to bear. Artillery fire from outside the city, artillery fire that was being used in the course of the day has also stopped.
This is because, I would assume, looking at what I can see before me, that it is very close quarters combat in there. It would be very difficult at this stage for the artillery to target with precision at insurgent positions if the Marines were in the thick of it.
It seems that the fighting there could be street fights, streets block by block. There's no standoff here. Everybody seems to be mixing together, looking at the tracer fire that's crisscrossing. It seems to be those groups really locked in street combat from what we can see -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Karl Penhaul is embedded with the U.S. Marines in Falluja. That assault has actually started, Operation Phantom Fury.
Karl, we're going to get back to you. Stand by, please.
I have no idea what you are talken about. Would you enlighten me please?
hmmmm.....no mention of chopper cover...