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38 US troops killed in Fallujah

US Marines have found beheading chambers, bomb-making factories and even two hostages as they swept through Fallujah.
PTI | By Agencies, Baghdad
UPDATED ON NOV 15, 2004 12:11 PM IST

US military announced that 38 American troops have been killed and 275 wounded in the ongoing operation in Fallujah.

Three of the casualties were due to "non-battle injuries," a US statement said on Sunday.

US Marines have found beheading chambers, bomb-making factories and even two hostages as they swept through Fallujah, turning up hard evidence of the city's role in the insurgent campaign to drive American forces from Iraq.

Marines on Sunday showed off what they called a bomb-making factory, where insurgents prepared roadside explosives and car bombs that have killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians and US troops.

Wires, cell phones, Motorola handheld radios and a Plastic foam box packed with C4 plastic explosives sat in the dark building down an alley, along with three balaclava-style masks reading: "There is only one god, Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger." "It's all significant because this is not the kind of stuff an average household has," said Lt. Kevin Kimner, 25, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines.

So far US troops have only found two hostages, one Iraqi and one Syrian. Marines last week found the Iraqi in a room with a black banner bearing the logo of one of Iraq's extremist groups. He was chained to the wall, shackled hand and foot in front of a video camera. The floor was covered with blood.

The rescued Syrian was the driver for two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, missing since August. The journalists have not been found, but France maintains they are still alive.

A Marine officer said he found signs that at least one foreign hostage was beheaded in that room. The Marine, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not give details.

The Iraqi hostage, who had been beaten on the back with steel cables, said his tormentors were Syrian and that he thought he was in Syria until the Marines found him, the Marine said. Other militants came and went, but "The Syrians were always in charge," the Marine said.

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