Fallajuh and Damascus
It appears our patience has worn out in Fallajuh: U.S. aircraft hammers Fallujah after dark; fighting near Najaf kills scores (Boston Herald/AP)
Multiple explosions shook Fallujah after dark Tuesday, and large plumes of smoke billowed into the sky as fighting erupted for the second straight night. An American AC-130 gunship hammered targets in the city.
Blasts and gunfire went on steadily for more than half an hour in sustained fighting, apparently in the northern Jolan district, a poor neighborhood where Sunni insurgents are concentrated.
Flames could be seen rising from building, and mosque loudspeakers in other parts of the city called for firefighters to mobilize.
The fighting erupted as a two-day extension to a cease-fire ended. Earlier in the day, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets in the city of 200,000 people, calling on insurgents to surrender.
”Surrender, you are surrounded,” the leaflets said. ”If you are a terrorist, beware, because your last day was yesterday. In order to spare your life end your actions and surrender to coalition forces now. We are coming to arrest you.”
Meanwhile, all hell is apparently breaking loose in Damascus: Explosions, Gunfire Shake Syrian Capital (Reuters):
A series of loud explosions and heavy shooting shook the Syrian capital late Tuesday, causing casualties in a western area of Damascus where foreign embassies are located, witnesses and media reports said.
Syrian television said security forces were battling “terrorists.”
“We were working in the library and heard lots of gunfire and explosions,” said one foreign student in Damascus who was close to the site of the explosions.
“Everyone was terrified and we ran out of the building to see what was happening,” he told Reuters. “We saw some big puffs of smoke, but things are closed off now.”