U.S. warplanes, tanks bombard Fallujah

Saturday, August 28th 2004, 11:40 am
By: News On 6

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) _ U.S. warplanes and tanks bombarded targets in the volatile city of Fallujah on Saturday, and U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with insurgents on the city's eastern outskirts and the main highway that runs to neighboring Jordan, witnesses said.

The attacks struck the city's eastern al-Askari neighborhood as well as the industrial area at the eastern entrance of Fallujah. At least four homes were destroyed and people were seen being rushed to hospital.

Lt. Col. Thomas V. Johnson, a Marine spokesman, said U.S. troops based on the edge of Fallujah had been attacked.

``One of our positions near Fallujah has been taking sporadic fire,'' Johnson said. ``Marines countered with tanks and artillery.''

Witnesses said the air raids began at 7 p.m. and were still going on an hour later. Smoke could be seen billowing into the air and fire blazed in the sky after the strikes.

Johnson said one fire in the city had been started by a U.S. strike and was ``believed to be related to a hit on a significant weapons cache.''

U.S. forces have repeatedly carried out airstrikes in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, since Marines ended a three-week siege of the city in April aimed at rooting out Sunni Muslim insurgents.

On Friday, U.S. airstrikes targeted the same neighborhoods, killing three people and wounding 13 others, including a 6-year-old girl, medical officials said.

The military said Friday's attack had targeted an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back of a truck that attempted to fire on a U.S. plane.