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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Iraqi PM backs strike on Falluja
A Falluja resident picks through the rubble of a house following a US air strike in June
The US says it has been targeting militant safe houses
Iraq's new prime minister says his government co-operated in a US air strike on the volatile city of Falluja, which killed at least 10 people.

In an unprecedented statement, Iyad Allawi said his interim government had provided intelligence for the attack.

A US military spokesman said the target was a house suspected of being used by supporters of an al-Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

It was the latest in a spate of US air strikes on Falluja.

... Iraqi security forces provided clear and compelling intelligence to conduct a precision strike this evening on a known Zarqawi safe house ...
Iraqi interim PM Iyad Allawi

Mr Allawi's statement demonstrates that he is keen to associate his administration publicly with attacks by American forces on foreign militants, correspondents say.

"The sovereign Iraqi people and our international partners are adamant that we will put an end to terrorism and chase those corrupt terrorists and will uproot them one by one," he said in the statement.

But Mr Allawi is under pressure to strike a balance if he is to avoid alienating the people he is supposed to represent.

In Falluja, angry residents gathered at the 30-foot (nine metre) deep hole gouged out of the ground by the bombs.

Some demanded to know whether such attacks were acceptable to their new government.


The US military says it dropped four 500-pound (225kg) bombs and two 1,000-pound (450kg) bombs in the raid, which took place at about 1915 local time (1515 GMT) on Monday.

"After consultations between Iraqi government officials and multinational forces-Iraq, Iraqi security forces provided clear and compelling intelligence to conduct a precision strike this evening on a known Zarqawi safe house in south-eastern Falluja," Mr Allawi said in his statement.

Mr Zarqawi has been frequently blamed by US forces for organising anti-US resistance in Falluja.

The town, about 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, suffered some of Iraq's worst violence in April when US marines and insurgents clashed in the streets. Hundreds of Iraqis were killed.

An all-Iraqi force has been in charge of the mostly Sunni Muslim city since May, following a month-long siege by US troops.

The US says the city has become a stronghold for followers of Mr Zarqawi.

Last week it increased to $25m its reward offer for the capture of the Jordanian militant it accuses of masterminding a string of massive suicide bombings in Iraq.

Mr Zarqawi is also said to have been involved in the beheading of two hostages, American Nick Berg and South Korean Kim Sun.

Checkpoint shooting

In Baghdad, US soldiers in Iraq shot and killed an Iraqi child and wounded another while firing on a car that failed to stop at a checkpoint.

The US military said the driver of the vehicle, the children's father, ignored signals to stop, switched the car lights off and tried to bypass the checkpoint, forcing guards to jump out of the way.

He is been questioned by Iraqi police following the incident which happened late on Monday.

The US military also said three of its marines died on Monday during operations in the Anbar region, where Falluja is located.

Two died in action, while a third died of his wounds later, the military said.

The BBC's Richard Slee
"This is the fifth ari strike in the past two weeks"

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