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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 20:17 GMT
What do Iraqis think about Falluja?
Woman holds her head as US soldier walks in Falluja street
The assault in Falluja has split Iraqi opinion
As operations in the rebel-held Iraqi city of Falluja continue, hundreds of Iraqis from across the country have been emailing the BBC News website and BBCArabic.com.

The operation has polarised opinions among Iraqis, with some praising what they see as swift, resolute action by the US-led forces against the rebels and others condemning the loss of life.

From the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, reader Sattar Saeed expressed anger at what he saw as hypocrisy on the part of the US and Iraq governments.

"If Saddam was now in power and decided to launch such an attack against an Iraqi city, I wonder what [US President George W] Bush and [Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi would have said about it?" he wrote.

Mr Allawi was also singled out for criticism by Nabil al-Adhami, another a Baghdad resident.

"Women, children, old people and anyone who wants a country free from occupation will be killed under the pretext of fighting terrorism," he said.

"Shame on you Allawi. To my brethren in Falluja, my heart goes out to you."

'Safe haven'

Sattar's comments were echoed by Muhammad Hamdani from the northern city of Mosul, where on Friday Iraqi security forces reportedly lost control of much of the city to insurgents.

"The invasion of Falluja is nothing but a publicity stunt by a [US] president who won by a very narrow margin", he wrote.

"Do not forget that most civilian deaths in Iraq were caused by American forces and not by local 'terrorists'.

"If New York or Washington was invaded by any foreign country, would you not take up arms to defend it?

Iraq does not need criminals to defend it
Iraqi reader Wisam, Basra

However, Baghdad resident Akeel wrote to BBCArabic.com praising the assault.

"Terrorism has destroyed Iraq and must be stopped," he said.

"Falluja is a safe haven for terrorists... the authority of the state must be enforced."

A native Fallujan now living outside the city wrote to BBCArabic.com expressing his full support for the government and pouring scorn on Arabs outside Iraq who had criticised the military operation.

"I support the government in its use of force to rid us from the terrorist gangs that have been wreaking havoc in my city and causing pain to my people," Ahlam Jamil said.

"I say to Arabs outside Iraq: Please save us your comments, because you don't know the crimes that have been committed by these gangs under the guise of religion and resistance."

Sacrifices 'necessary'

In Ramadi, where the security situation has also rapidly spiralled out of control after rebels seized much of the city, BBCArabic.com reader Mu'amer al-Ahibi attacked claims that the insurgents were fighting for a legitimate cause.

He said many of those fighting were embittered members of the regime of ousted President Saddam Hussein.

Smoke and flames rise from burning buildings in Falluja

"If only you knew what the remnants of Saddam's regime are doing to us in the name of resistance with the aim of restoring the hegemony of the murderous gangs over Iraq, you would curse anyone who takes up arms anywhere in the world," he said.

"Sacrifices are necessary in order to get rid of the terrorists," added Akram Abdul Aali from the southern city of Nasiriya in Iraq.

"All Iraqi towns must act so that there will never again be another Falluja."

Reader Wisam from the southern city of Basra, which is under British control and has seen little of the violence that has plagued US-controlled areas, felt that those praising the resistance were being hypocritical.

"No-one seems to have spared a thought for the bereaved families who have lost loved ones because of the car bombs manufactured by those criminals who call themselves part of the resistance," he said.

"Allawi's decision is a sound one and should have been taken and implemented long before now.

"Iraq does not need criminals to defend it."


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