BAGHDAD, Nov. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- US forces have dispatched troops from
the battleground around Iraq's rebellion bastion of Fallujah to
the northern city of Mosul, which has partially fallen into hands of
insurgents, the US military said on Saturday.
A battalion was sent to Mosul on Thursday, after dozens, if nothundreds, of fighters armed with
machine guns and rocket launchersroamed in the streets of the third biggest city
in Iraq, witnessesand a source in the US army said.
TV reports said on Saturday that locals looted a
former regimepalace that once was used as a US military base in the city, butthe
reports were not confirmed by the US command.
"People have looted the palace after the American
soldiers leftthe camp in it last night," said a correspondent with
al-Jazeeranews channel, adding he saw the citizens loading their cars withthe
stuff early Saturday.
Militants stormed nine police stations in Mosul on
Thursday,seizing police vehicles and weapons, and US forces and IraqiNational
Guards were called in after the attacks, said the USmilitary. Five National
Guards and one US soldier were killed inclashes with the insurgents.
US officials declined to conclude that the rebels had
beenmoving to Mosul from Fallujah, besieged by around 12,000 US andIraqi troops,
but said they were mostly based in northern Iraq.
Meanwhile, army officers also admitted that many
fighters hadevacuated from Fallujah before the all-out offensive started
onMonday aiming at ridding the "Resistance Capital" of insurgents togive way to
While the Iraqi government claimed that the massive
operation inFallujah was accomplished on Saturday, the US marines trading
firewith diehard militants said they met with tough resistance insouthern
Fallujah, a stronghold for foreign fighters.
Several days were believed to be needed to take full
control ofthe once rebel-held city, they said.
An audio tape purportedly from al-Qaida-linked
militant leaderAbu Mussab al-Zarqawi said on Friday that a victory for
theinsurgents is imminent and called upon fighters in other parts ofIraq to take
up weapons and join Fallujah rebels to "burn the fieldunder the invaders."
The authenticity of the tape, aired by al-Jazeera,
could not beidentified.
Zarqawi, with a bounty of 25 million US dollars on
his head,remained the top wanted man in Iraq. Iraqi interim government saidhe
had escaped from Fallujah, "leaving his supporters to tastedeath."
At the same time, fresh violence burst out in Mosul,
Baquba,Tikrit, Ramadi and the capital city of Baghdad in what appeared tobe the
insurgents' efforts to open new fronts in Iraq.
Mohammed Bashar al-Faiydhi, a spokesman for the
Muslim ClericAssociation, claimed on Friday that "the resistance is
controllingMosul and all the cities to the west of Fallujah until the
Syrianborders and that Baquba and Samarra shake in the attacks of
The remark was welcomed by sunni worshipers who
gathered afterFriday prayers at the Um al-Qura mosque, west Baghdad,
burningAmerican flag and chanting "God is the greatest."