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US troops seize Fallujah hospital
November 8, 2004 - 1:41PM
US troops and special Iraqi forces seized the main hospital in the rebel Iraqi city of Fallujah without a fight early today, according to a pool reporter embedded with the troops.
Iraqi forces from the 36th commando battalion entered the hospital without firing a shot, blindfolding some people and kicking down some doors, according to the reporter.
They were transported to the hospital inside Fallujah in US marine trucks escorted by marines in armoured vehicles, who secured the area.
The one storey Fallujah General Hospital is the largest in the city and is located on the western side on the banks of the Euphrates which separates it from the centre.
The taking of the hospital appeared to mark the start of an all-out offensive by the some 20,000 US and Iraqi forces stationed around the city to regain the insurgency bastion west of Baghdad from the grip of rebels.
US and Iraqi forces met little resistance as they entered the city except for a roadside bomb that exploded close to a US military vehicle wounding a marine, according to the reporter.
An AFP correspondent inside the city said he spoke with the director of the hospital earlier by telephone.