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Red Crescent suspends Falluja work


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An Iraqi Red Crescent worker surveys a street in Falluja.
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FALLUJA, Iraq (CNN) -- As part of an agreement with coalition forces, the only humanitarian organization in Falluja said Sunday it will temporarily suspend its operations there.

The Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC), which has worked with Marines to distribute food, water and medical supplies to citizens remaining in Falluja, is suspending its work for two days because of security searches to be conducted in the same area where the organization set up its headquarters, said Anas Akram Mohammad, director of the group's disaster management unit.

When the organization set up about a week ago, it did so in a neighborhood that was not entirely secured and without coordinating with coalition forces, said Lt. Col. Michael Ramos, commander of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment.

On Friday, an intense firefight raged for hours about 300 meters (1,000 feet) from that headquarters. One insurgent was killed and two others were later detained and identified by Iraqi forces involved in the firefight, Ramos said. Other cell members are suspected to be in the area.

Both coalition forces and the IRC agreed to suspend the organization's activities while security operations in northeast Falluja continue, Ramos said.

Only about 100 families are thought to remain in Falluja, as most fled the city before the U.S.-led operation aimed at flushing out insurgents.

Mohammad said Sunday that over the past three days, the IRC had delivered a week's supply of food, water and medical supplies to all the families it could identify in that region of the city.

Marines and Iraqi forces will continue coordination and distribution during the suspension, Ramos said.

CNN's Arwa Damon and Correspondent Jane Arraf contributed to this report.


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