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Explosions Shake Fallujah After Nightfall

Explosions Shake Fallujah After Nightfall

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FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- Multiple explosions shook Fallujah after dark Tuesday and plumes of smoke rose into the air as fighting erupted for a second straight night. A U.S. 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 buildings, and mosque loudspeakers in other parts of the city called on firefighters to mobilize.

The fighting broke out as a two-day extension to a cease-fire came to end.

Earlier in the day, U.S. aircraft dropped white leaflets over the city west of Baghdad, 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."

The U.S. military on Sunday announced the two-day extension to the fragile cease-fire to give political efforts a chance -- backing down from threats to launch an all-out assault on Fallujah to root our insurgents.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Monday and Tuesday there was no ultimatum for a launch of an assault if political efforts did not show results. "We don't think deadlines are helpful," Kimmitt said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Marines were pushing ahead with a key part of the political track, the introduction of U.S.-Iraqi patrols into Fallujah. Those patrols were scheduled to begin Thursday.

Heavy fighting erupted Monday night in the Jolan neighborhood, where one Marine and eight insurgents were killed, and tank fire destroyed a mosque minaret that U.S. commanders said insurgents were using as sniper's nest.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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