Excuse me, but didn't we take
this city? Didn't we remove all the non-combatants, and run the resistance out of Fallujah?
US warplanes strike Falluja
Sunday 19 December 2004, 12:56 Makka Time, 9:56 GMT
Falluja refugees have been demanding to return home
The US military has renewed its aerial assault of Falluja amid reports of fierce clashes with the city's resistance, an Iraqi journalist said.
According to independent Iraqi journalist Fadhil al-Badrani, US warplanes targeted Falluja's eastern and southern districts.
He said fierce clashes had broken out in the city centre between US forces who have been in the city since 8 November and Iraqi fighters who had infiltrated back in across the Euphrates river.
"There is no way to determine the number of casualties as US authorities have barred journalists and aid workers from entering Falluja," al-Badrani told Aljazeera.
Falluja return delayed
The US military had earlier said it could not recommend to the Iraqi interim government the return of residents to Falluja.
"At some point we will make a recommendation; we have not reached that point," Lieutenant Colonel Dan Wilson, a deputy commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters in a military base near Falluja late on Friday.
US soldiers have been engaged in fierce fighting in Falluja
The Iraqi interim government had promised on Thursday residents could begin returning to the city, west of Baghdad, as early as next week, saying that basic services and aid had been restored.
But US marines, backed by a small Iraqi force, are apparently still engaged in fighting with the city's remaining resistance. There are also fears that some civilians may be trapped.
"We know of 150 civilians trapped in the city," al-Badrani said.