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    Monday, November 08, 2004

    No Sanctuary: The coalition forces aren't messing around. They've even secured a hospital in Fallujah:

    American officials also say the hospital has been a haven for insurgents in what has been a "no-go" zone for American forces for months. And they have made little secret of their irritation with what they contend are inflated civilian casualty figures that regularly flow from the hospital - propaganda, they believe, for the Falluja insurgents, whom they blame for much of the car bombings, beheadings and other acts of terror in Iraq.

    In all, there were 160 Iraqis found at the hospital, according to the American Special Forces commander, and at least five people suspected of being foreign fighters, including one from Syria.

    One they can be sure about: A man who identified himself as a fighter from Morocco was wheeled down the hallway, where he pointed out several others he said were also anti-American fighters from other countries.

    American troops said they found four or five men at the hospital armed with Kalashnikov rifles, and at least one hand grenade. A poster hanging in an examination room on the first floor displayed scenes of carnage in Iraq and a row of flag-draped American coffins. The writing on the poster encouraged jihad, a translator said.

    Perhaps the most intriguing discovery of the night - aside from the Moroccan - were two cellphones found on the roof of the hospital. The Americans said they were clear evidence that someone was monitoring the area in front of the hospital.

    Dr. Rasheed al-Janabi, a general surgeon at the hospital, said many patients had left in the past few weeks in anticipation of an attack, though some, he said, including several wounded by American bombs, were in no shape to leave. "For many days we see on TV that an attack is coming," he said. Only about 30 percent of the Falluja population is left in the city, he said.

    He denied that the hospital was a haven for insurgents. "Fighters?" he shrugged. "I don't know about fighters."

    One of the Iraqi soldiers, sitting on a desk nearby, voiced skepticism.

    "Doctors from around here are afraid of the terrorists," said the soldier, Hassan, who like many of the Iraqi troops was afraid to give his full name. "They're afraid they'll threaten them or shoot them."


    posted by Sydney on 11/08/2004 08:31:00 AM 0 comments


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