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Marines & Iraqi Insurgents Clash in Fallujah - 2004-03-26


A gun battle between U-S Marines and Iraqi insurgents has killed at least five people in the restive city of Fallujah.

Witnesses say heavy gunfire and explosions were heard when Marines moved into the center of the city on Friday.Fighting raged for more than one hour, and reports say the entrance to the city has been blocked by the Marines.

Local hospital officials say at least one child was among the dead, and several other people were wounded.

An Iraqi cameraman working for a foreign news agency was also reported killed in the clash.

The U-S military has not confirmed the fighting in Fallujah, and there have been no reports of U-S casualties.

Fallujah, which is west of Baghdad, sits in a region known as the "Sunni Triangle," and has been the source of many attacks in recent months aimed at the U-S-led coalition. Meanwhile, the United Nations says a team of election experts has arrived in Baghdad to help Iraq prepare for national elections by the end of January next year.

U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan agreed earlier this month to send the experts, in response to a request from the US appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

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