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U.S. strike on Falluja 'kills 60'


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. air strike on a "terrorist meeting site" in Falluja Thursday night killed approximately 60 foreign fighters with ties to known terrorist leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the Coalition Press Information Center said.

Approximately 90 foreign fighters were inside the compound and were planning attacks against the Iraqi people, Iraqi Security forces and Multi-National Forces, CPIC reported.

The strike happened around 9:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. EDT).

Several of the fighters who survived the initial strike fled into a nearby town, "endangering the safety of local civilians," according to CPIC.

"Multinational Forces discontinued the engagement of those terrorists in order to protect the civilian populace and minimize collateral damage to the town of Qaryat ar Rufush," the CPIC statement said.

The airstrike destroyed three buildings inside the "terrorist compound," according to CPIC.

Hours later, U.S. forces conducted another airstrike on Zarqawi targets in Falluja.

The Coalition Press Information Center reported that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi authorized the attack on a "terrorist compound" located in the south-central part of Falluja, which took place at about 2:45 a.m. Friday (6:45 p.m. Thursday ET).

There was no immediate word on casualties in the second strike.


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