Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has given the go-ahead for U.S. and Iraqi forces to clear the insurgent-held city of Fallujah of "terrorists."
Speaking Monday in Baghdad, Mr. Allawi promised the rule of law would soon be restored in the embattled city. He also imposed a Fallujah curfew, blocked roads from the city to nearby Ramadi, and ordered Baghdad's airport closed for 48 hours.
Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops are massed outside the city. Earlier today, the coalition forces pushed into the city's western perimeter, taking control of Fallujah's main hospital and two key bridges over the Euphrates River.
The U.S. military says 42 insurgents have been killed in the city since Sunday. A U.S. spokeswoman said no coalition casualties have been reported in the operation. U.S. warplanes and artillery continued to pound targets in the city this morning.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.