Militant groups control 60 percent of Fallujah: witnesses

Militant groups in battle-torn Fallujah have controlled 60 percent of the central Iraqi city and surrounded dozens of US Marines in Jolan district,witnesses said Sunday.

“Defenders of the city are controlling 60 percent of the city and they are encircling dozens of US soldiers in Jolan neighborhood,” eyewitnesses who managed to sneak out of the city told Xinhua.

Residents of Fallujah said the southern part of Fallujah, which is still under control of the militant groups, constitutes the larger part of the city, and US troops only control the north and small eastern spots in the city.

“Some American troops are based in government buildings and they are pounded by fighters,” they said.

“In daytime, groups of mujahedeen (Holy War fighters) engage with hit-and-run attacks with US Marines, and at the same time they gear themselves up for the night battles,” they said. Fierce fighting and loud explosions resonated throughout Jolan district before the sunset.

US troops continued pounding the area as plumes and columns ofsmoke covered the sky over Jolan and the southern al-Shuhadaa district.

Early this month, US and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to crush insurgents, including Zarqawi group, in Fallujah, 50 km west of Baghdad.

About one week later, the US military claimed it had controlled the city.