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11/10/04 - OPERATION AL-FAJR CONTINUES - 2004-11-10

U.S. and Iraqi forces are carrying out an offensive against terrorists and insurgents in the city of Fallujah. The top U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, said that ten-thousand to fifteen-thousand U.S. troops, along with a smaller number of Iraqi forces, are involved in the offensive, dubbed Operation Al-Fajr, Arabic for "new dawn."

Shortly after Operation Al-Fajr was launched, Iraqi Major General Abdul Qader Mohammed Jassim said that it marked the dawn of a new day for both Fallujah and Iraq. "The good citizens of Fallujah are not kidnappers, murderers, and mercenaries," he said. "They are Iraqis who, like all Iraqis, want freedom and peace."

General Qader also said that a "robust civil affairs operation" would follow combat operations in Fallujah, ensuring that electricity, water, sanitation services, and sewage systems are running in the city.

Lieutenant General Thomas Metz is the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq. He says that operations against terrorists and insurgents in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities will help ensure that Iraq's interim government can register voters in preparation for National Assembly elections, set to take place early next year.

"We will need, once we finish the operation, to pick up the pace with the registration, which is going well in all of the other provinces. I believe that we have every chance to conclude this operation and put the governance and the security in Fallujah to help those people register and get them ready for the election."

General Metz said he remains confident that Iraq will be ready to hold the election on schedule.