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US and Iraqi Troops Enter Center of Fallujah - 2004-11-10


U.S. and Iraqi troops have pushed into central Fallujah, but a senior U.S. commander says there are days of tough urban fighting ahead to retake the city from insurgents.

Lieutenant-General Thomas Metz says coalition forces destroyed the insurgents' outer ring of resistance during the first two days of the assault. He says thousands of troops are now fighting small groups of insurgents in street by street battles.

He says the most wanted man in Iraq, terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, likely fled the city before the assault.

The U.S. military says 10 American troops and two Iraq soldiers have been killed in the assault. U.S. commanders say the number of insurgent casualties is higher than expected, but they provided no numbers.

President Bush praised U.S. and Iraqi troops for bringing the insurgents to justice and preventing them from stopping the advance of democracy.

Most of Fallujah's residents fled before the offensive.

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