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  Monday, August 19, 2019
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U.S. troops fought to crush resistance in the Iraqi city of Falluja on Thursday
U.S. troops fought to crush resistance in the Iraqi city of Falluja on Thursday, but rebels hit back with an armed rampage in Mosul and a car bomb that killed 17 people in a crowded Baghdad street. Marines met little opposition in the former insurgent stronghold of Jolan, in northwest FallujaBut a huge blast sent a fireball into the sky after dark. Marines had to call in four air strikes after taking heavy fire at their headquarters in central Falluja, the BBC reported. Its correspondent with the Marines said a rifle company had come under continuous fire when it pushed out of the base into the city on a house-to-house search for insurgents. Jolan, a stronghold for Saddam Hussein loyalists, had seen some of the fiercest fighting of this week's U.S.-led offensive in the Sunni Muslim city, 32 miles west of Baghdad, informs Reuters. According to the NEWS, Waves of devastating violence swept through Iraq yesterday with US forces still mired in street fighting in their attempt to capture the rebel stronghold of Fallujah. A suicide bombing killed at least 19 people and injured 15 in Baghdad, the explosion destroying 20 buildings and 25 cars. The northern city of Mosul was reported "out of control", with police stations stormed and masked gunmen roaming the streets. Fighting also continued in Ramadi with large parts of the city in the hands of insurgents. In Fallujah, the American military claimed to have killed more than 600 resistance fighters and to have pinned hundreds of others into a corner for a final assault. At least 18 US troops and five Iraqi government soldiers have been killed so far in Fallujah, military officials said. Major-General Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division, said 69 American personnel and 34 Iraqi government soldiers had been wounded since the assault began on Monday. The military had been slow in releasing official, comprehensive reports, citing security but about 225 injured soldiers are in Landstuhl Medical Centre in Germany. The US administration and its sponsored Iraqi government had insisted the onslaught on Fallujah was justified because it had become the epicentre of insurgency in Iraq. In central Baghdad, meanwhile, 17 people were burnt to death by a car bomb, and around the country insurgents carried out what appeared to be co-ordinated attacks. The fighting in Mosul underlines the greatest potential flaw in the attack on Fallujah ? that, in driving the resistance out of one stronghold, the US-led coalition runs the risk of simply dispersing it to other Iraqi towns and cities. Despite the continuing success of the US attack, in other parts of the country it has generated the worst violence for weeks, tells the Times Online
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