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Fallujah Police Tell American Troops To Leave
Jul 11, 2003
Source: Gulf News
Iraqi police in Fallujah threatened to resign yesterday unless the U.S. forces that trained them left town, saying the presence of American tro-ops endangered their lives.
More than 100 members of the new U.S.-backed force protested in the town about 50km west of Baghdad after their by guerrillas firing rocket-propelled grenades. There were no reported casualties.
"We have the ability to protect these sites," said Riyadh Abdel-Latif, the town's police chief. "The presence of Americans endangers us. We asked the Americans more than a month and a half ago to leave Falluja."
The protesters handed a petition to the mayor and U.S. commander in the town, saying they would resign in 48 hours if American troops did not leave.
Fallujah is a hotbed of anti-American sentiment. U.S. officials say they are facing organised resistance from mixed groups of Islamic militants, Saddam Hussain loyalists, armed gangs and Iraqis seeking revenge for the deaths of relatives. U.S. troops shot dead 15 protesters during demonstrations in the town three weeks after U.S. and British troops ousted Saddam on April 9. Frustration also grew with the U.S. failure to restore services like water and electricity.
In an attempt to restore order since then, the United States has revived new police forces, many of whom served under the former regime and are regarded with suspicion.
U.S.-backed Iraqi police have been targeted for cooperating with the occupation forces. The biggest attack was last week, when a remote-controlled blast killed seven Iraqi police recruits in Ramadi, 100km west of Baghdad.
On July 1, American tro-ops came under grenade attack in Falluja after an explosion at a mosque killed nine people.
Residents blamed a coalition air strike for the blast. Iraqi police in Fallujah and the United States military in a joint investigation said the explosion occurred during a bomb-making class, but an American official later said he could not confirm it.