The Cattle Drive
(Note: the map used in this post has been copied from Global Security; the main roads are highlighted in green. I have modified this map to highlight Route 10, the Railroad, suspected Coalition positions and advances, and other terrain features. American/British forces are the blue boxes, friendly Iraqi forces are the green boxes. I think I have pinpointed the positions of 2 of the 5 Iraqi battalions based on news sources, if anyone has further information I would greatly appreciate it.)
Click on the map for a larger image.
The Islamofascists in Fallujah have approached the end. Early reports indicate enemy casualties at over 600. Pockets of scattered resistance exist throughout the city. Two top aides to Zarqawi, along with 70 terrorists, are believed to have been killed in an artillery attack. The bulk of the fighters who have fled the onslaught from the north are being forced to the southern neighborhoods, either to conduct a last stand or attempt an escape.
Since Monday, U.S. and Iraqi troops have been fighting their way through the northern half of Fallujah, reaching the east-west highway that bisects the city and battling pockets of fighters trapped in the north while other insurgents fell back into the south.
After sunset yesterday, U.S. soldiers and Marines began their main assault across the central highway into Fallujah's southern half after air and artillery barrages pummeled the sector throughout the day, the military said. Sunni fighters in the sector appeared to be trying desperately to break open an escape route through the U.S.-Iraqi cordon closing off Fallujah's southern edge, commanders said. Insurgent mortar fire and attacks have focused on bridges and roads out of the city more than on U.S. troops descending from the north, they said.
Commanders say that since the offensive began, their seal around the city is tight and that fighters still inside have little chance of escaping. About 15,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops are involved in the cordon and the assault inside the city.
The direction of the insurgent's fire indicates they are hoping for a breakout. Armed with rifles, RPGs and mortars, they are no match for the vast array of armor, artillery and air support blocking their exit. They are trapped.
"They can't go north because that's where we are. They can't go west because of the Euphrates river and they can't go east because we have a huge presence there. So they are cornered in the south," Master Sergeant Roy Meek told Reuters. Tank crews who have swept south over the last 24 hours said they had driven insurgents to the southern part of Fallujah toward a guerrilla stronghold the Americans call 'Queens'.
The Islamofascists being driven south believe their fate is "victory or martyrdom, and both are great honors." Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division and the British Black Watch lay in wait to the south of Fallujah. The jihadis may futilely attempt to martyr themselves against American forces, but their death and our victory are assured.