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January 23, 2004
US Battles Al-Qaeda Cell in Fallujah

The US has discovered an al-Qaeda cell in the troublesome city of Fallujah, and is rounding up as many of its members as it can find:

The U.S. military is fighting to uproot a suspected cell of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network in the staunchly anti-American town of Fallujah, a military official said Thursday. Two Egyptians and an Iraqi, all believed to be couriers among al-Qaida terrorists and financiers, were arrested Sunday in a Fallujah apartment building where slogans supporting bin Laden were written across a wall in sheep's blood.

Capt. Scott Kirkpatrick, of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, who led the raid, said the men were found with al-Qaida literature and photos of bin Laden, believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed roughly 3,000 people. Kirkpatrick said the U.S. military doesn't know how big the al-Qaida cell in Fallujah is, "but it exists and we are making some very, very serious inroads into depleting it."

The al-Qaeda cell has been busy in Fallujah, firebombing businesses that cooperate with the Coalition and threatening others, such as a music and book store which al-Qaeda insists only Qu'ran verses and music supporting the mujaheddin should be sold. Hair salons attending to unveiled women receive death threats. Residents in Fallujah face arrest by Coalition forces on one hand and death from Fedayeen nutcases on the other, and this may explain why Fallujah has been such a thorn in the Coalition's side. It's an interesting article; it gives an insight into the difficulties of occupation for the residents and for the Coalition.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2004 6:15 AM

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