Iraq's interim prime minister has appealed to insurgents in the flashpoint city of Fallujah to lay down their weapons, as U.S. and Iraqi troops move closer to the city's center, determined to crush them.
Iyad Allawi's spokesman (Thaer al-Naqib) said today (Tuesday) a political solution is still possible, even while military operations are ongoing.
Despite that appeal, pressure on the insurgents has not eased, as thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops advance toward Fallujah's center on the second day of their assault.
Most of Fallujah's residents have fled ahead of the expected offensive, leaving gunmen to battle troops on deserted city streets and in alleyways.
The U.S. military says six multinational troops have been killed today (Tuesday) in fighting in the al-Anbar province, which includes Fallujah. There is no official count of how many insurgents have been killed.
The military operation is intended to wipe out insurgents and foreign terrorists who have taken shelter in Fallujah and to restore law and order ahead of January's elections.