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CNN July 21
MOSUL, Iraq (CNN) -- As U.S. soldiers construct a wall around the troubled city of Tal Afar to keep out fighters and weapons, residents are fleeing in fear of an imminent military attack by American and Iraqi forces against insurgents still in the city, according to a senior military commander.
"It's not a mass exodus right now, but people have moved out of the city along kinship lines," Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry, which is responsible for security in Tal Afar, told CNN.
He said several thousand civilians have left in the past few months and more are continuing to leave, with most going to the countryside to stay with relatives. McMaster said the military was assessing civilian movements to be able to provide food, water and medical attention if it became needed.
Billings Gazette: 20 police killed as fighting erupts in province north of Baghdad
September 3, 2005
Elsewhere, Iraqi civilians reported fighting late Friday in the outskirts of Tal Afar, an ethnically mixed insurgent stronghold 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Hospital officials said they were unsure of casualties because it was too dangerous for ambulances to reach the area. U.S. armored vehicles could be seen in the hills outside the city, the Iraqis said.
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