A Top Insurgent Says Fight Has Just Begun

From the Washington Post

Los Angeles Times

November 17, 2004

FALLOUJA, Iraq — After a week of heavy fighting in Fallouja, a leading Iraqi insurgent said the battle was only the beginning of an uprising that had already roiled parts of Iraq dominated by Sunni Muslims.

"The battle of Fallouja is the beginning of other battles," Abdullah Janabi said Monday in Fallouja, which U.S. commanders say they control now.

Iraqi officials had said they believed that Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S.-led troops invaded.

But the cleric spoke from an undamaged house in the city's southern district of Nazzal, boasting of U.S. casualties and insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallouja with him.

Janabi was protected by several bodyguards and wore an explosives vest, the wires that would detonate it dangling a few inches apart.

After fighting erupted in Fallouja, insurgents opened a second front in the northern city of Mosul, seizing control of parts of the city and attacking bridges and police stations.

On Tuesday, gunfire echoed as U.S.-led troops battled guerrillas in Mosul.

Residents reported renewed fighting Tuesday in Baiji and Baqubah, both north of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said it had killed about 1,200 insurgents in Fallouja and detained hundreds.

But Janabi, the insurgent leader, said Monday: "We still have our strength, our force and ammunition, and the battle is long, very long.

"And we will turn Iraq into one big Fallouja."