Skip to comments.U.S. Says Insurgent Leaders Likely Fled Falluja
Posted on 11/09/2004 12:50:03 PM PST by kattracks
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior leaders of the insurgency and al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi likely escaped from Falluja before U.S. Marines stormed into the city, a top U.S. general said on Tuesday.
"I think we are looking at several more days of tough urban fighting," Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, in charge of day-to-day U.S.-led military operations in Iraq (news - web sites), told reporters at the Pentagon (news - web sites), as thousands of U.S. and allied Iraqi forces pressed their assault to gain control of the rebel-held city.
Metz said there had been "a dozen" U.S. casualties in the operation, but did not specify whether he meant a dozen U.S. troops killed or a dozen killed and wounded. "Friendly casualties are light," Metz said in a video teleconference briefing from Iraq.
"Enemy casualties, I think, are significantly higher than I expected," Metz added, but declined to provide a number.
U.S. officials have said senior leaders of the insurgency that rose up after the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) had used Falluja as a safe haven, but Metz indicated some had departed the scene before the ground assault began on Monday.
"I personally believe that some of the senior leaders probably have fled. I would hope not, but I've got to assume that those kind of leaders understand the combat power we can bring and the fact that we will free Falluja of the anti-Iraqi forces," Metz said.
He said there are insurgent leaders, who he did not identify, still in Falluja "orchestrating the battle to the best of their ability, which it appears not to be very good." He said the insurgents, numbering about 2,000-3,000, were fighting in groups of three to six people, and showing little coherence since the initial U.S.-led assault on Monday.
Asked specifically about Jordanian-born Zarqawi, Metz said, "It is fair to assume he has left."
Metz, the No. 2 U.S. officer in Iraq, said he believed 50 percent to 75 percent of the residents of the city of 300,000 had left the city before the assault. "We have seen very few civilian casualties," he said, without providing any numbers.
"We're a little ahead of schedule. I would say the coming days will tell us whether or not the enemy is thickening as he moves back into the city, or we are killing the enemy, or capturing the enemy or pushing the enemy back," he said.
"I think the enemy is fighting hard, but not to the death, and I think that they are continuing to fall back," he said.
Of course the "leaders" fled early....martyrdom is for the underlings.
I doubt they've been in Fallujah for the past 7 or 8 months, or however long it's been since we pulled up short of flattening the place the first time. Al Zarqawi and friends have been pulling the strings from a safe distance, and have been for some time, is my bet.
Why on earth didn't we seal the place off before taking a week to amass equipment and telegraph our punch?
he who hesitates is lost...
This was a bad sound bite to let the press have.
I like Rummy's response to this yesterday better.
Q Does that mean you will capture Zarqawi in this instance, or you're hoping to?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I have no idea if he's there.
Sounds like the US forces have surrounded the city...?
a) we spent a LOT longer than a week preparing for this, they've known it was coming for a long time.
b) we let a lot of civilians leave (so they wouldn't be hurt in the fighting); terrorists could possibly use that as cover to escape
I'm willing to bet that we anticipated this and had a plan for detaining or tracing terrorists. Our intelligence community may be "tagging" some of these guys in hope of following their communication and gaining information which will allow them to catch some big fish.
It will be a great honor for you to die for Allah, I will remember you for a long time, at least until tomorrow....lol
They will be nothing more then armed thugs without any place of refuge.
They will be hunted down by the Iraqi gov't as the criminals they are, having lost the illusion of being a military threat.
We should be jumping up and down at this victory.
We thought we were going to have a bloody fight on our hands, instead the 'resistence' is being shown for it is, a bunch of armed thugs.
Don't let the MSM steal our victory, which is what they are going to do by telling us that we did not accomplish this or that.
They were hoping for a bloodbath to make Bush look bad, instead our military came through again.
Their lives are more important than some peon's. After all, they must live in order to recruit more "martyrs" (read fools) for the cause.
To rrepeat myself, again how can we get Chris Matthews to say on TV,I guess this wasn't no Stalingrad! Darn!
We have been talking about this since April
US Promises Overwhelming Response to Iraq Killings Reuters via Yahoo! ^ | April 1, 2004 | By Luke Baker and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops on Thursday promised an "overwhelming" response to brutal killings in the Iraqi town of Falluja and vowed to hunt down those who shot, burned and mutilated four American contractors.
Marines took positions on the outskirts of the restive town west of Baghdad where insurgents ambushed the contractors on Wednesday.
"Coalition forces will respond," the U.S. army's deputy director of operations Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told a news conference. "They are coming back and they are going to hunt down the people responsible for this bestial act.
"It will be at a time and a place of our choosing. It will be methodical, it will be precise and it will be overwhelming."
Or, in the case of Arafat, underlings' children. (How that piece of excrement has any regard in the civilized world is beyond me!)
Exactly. They much prefer to rape and murder living women than spititual ones.
You would have to be living under a rock in Kalamazoo to not have known about this attack on Fallujah.
Why would Zarqawi and his cohorts stay there?