6,203. 11/7/2004

“On the night of November 7 [2004], ten thousand American troops from the First Marine Division and the army’s First Cavalry Division launched the offensive, designated Operation Phantom Fury (Al Fajr), to retake Fallujah [Iraq]. The army and marine troops, supported by tanks, artillery, and air strikes, smashed into the insurgent defenses on the northern outskirts of Fallujah and began inexorably pressing the insurgents back toward the center of the city. …U.S. forces thought they had won the bitter struggle… But the insurgents and foreign fighters inside Fallujah did not quit… They fought on for eleven more days, until they were finally overwhelmed by the numerically superior marine forces. Hundreds of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters had been killed, but the cost in American lives was steep. More than seventy marines died in the fighting for Fallujah, and hundreds more were wounded. The battle may have been won for the moment, but radio intercepts and interrogations of captured fighters revealed that two thousand insurgents, including almost all of [al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi’s senior commanders, had managed to escape from the city before the battle.”

 – Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, Pages 272-273

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