Storming Fallujah

Six armored columns of U.S. forces drove into the heart of the Iraqi insurgency last week. Fighting was close and fierce at times, but even as troops took control of most of the city, more violence fl

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MARINES

3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment

MARINES

3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment

ARMY INFANTRY

2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment

MARINES

1st Battalion, 8th Regiment

MARINES

1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment

ARMY INFANTRY

2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment

JOLAN NEIGHBORHOOD

As Marines pushed south, U.S.-trained Iraqi forces patrolled the area, searching for insurgents and weapons caches

U.S. and Iraqi forces captured Fallujah's main hospital and two bridges as the campaign began

NO ESCAPE

U.S.-led troops kept a tight security cordon around the town. Late in the week, helicopter gunships attacked a group of insurgents trying to flee the city by boat

HIGHWAY 10

An early goal of the assault was to sweep through to this main east-west highway, cutting the city in half and pushing insurgent fighters south

SHUHADA NEIGHBORHOOD

Fighting intensified as U.S.-led forces pushed through the city. Insurgents were reported to be using defensive trenches for cover

MUHAMMUDIA MOSQUE

Insurgents had been using the building as a command center. U.S. troops secured the area after an intense fire fight. Insurgents reportedly tried a counterattack but failed

FALLUJAH

Known as the City of Mosques, Fallujah had an estimated population of 300,000, about the same as Tampa, Fla. U.S. officials said that at least 70% of the people fled before the battle

DEADLY DEVICES

Insurgents set booby traps throughout the city. One type of those improvised devices is made by wiring a cell phone to an artillery shell and burying it in the street. The device is detonated by dialing the phone

MASSIVE FIREPOWER ABOVE...

The AC-130 Spectre gunship is a giant flying artillery platform. Its complex fire-control systems can pinpoint an individual structure or level entire areas in seconds

- Crew 14

- Tactics

  The aircraft can be refueled while flying, allowing it to remain over targets for extended periods to support troops on the ground

- Speed

  Up to 300 m.p.h. (483 km/h)

...CONSTANT DANGER BELOW

To avoid getting caught in house-to-house fighting, U.S. forces sealed off some areas where insurgents were believed to be hiding, leaving them for later search-and-destroy missions

Insurgent snipers hid in buildings and fired from rooftops

In addition to providing cover for ambushers, tightly packed buildings hinder communications and reduce the mobility prozed by U.S. forces

Before the attack, planners employed an array of high-tech sensors to plot the location of booby traps, then used precision strikes to take them out

Machine guns mounted an armored humviees provide mobile firepower to squads moving through narrow streets

Source: AP; Globalsecurity.org Federation of American Scientists; BBC News; TIME reporting