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Marines take Kut without a shot

Marines fire artillery near Kut on April 3. On Saturday U.S. forces were welcomed into the town.
Marines fire artillery near Kut on April 3. On Saturday U.S. forces were welcomed into the town.

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KUT, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. military forces were "welcomed like liberators" on Saturday as they rolled into Kut and should take official control of the southern Iraq city within days, U.S. Marine sources told CNN.

Intelligence reports had suggested that Kut, a settlement of 300,000 along the Tigris River, may have contained suicide bombers from other countries looking to launch attacks against U.S. troops.

But the intelligence reports appear to be outdated and it "looks like the terrorists may be gone," a Marine told CNN correspondent Art Harris.

"Another city we thought would be trouble is coming into the fold," the Marine said.

Residents told the U.S. forces that they had shot and killed several terrorists and driven them out of town.

Kut was peaceful, and not a shot was fired as members of Marine Task Force Tarawa sent a convoy into the city on Saturday, Marine sources told Harris. Other Marine units were stationed around the city, prepared to respond in case of trouble.

Days of meetings between religious and civic leaders and top Marine officials helped pave the way for Saturday's events in Kut, as Saddam Hussein's Baath Party ceded control of the city.

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