Iraqi general says no foreign fighters in Falluja

 

A former Iraqi general entrusted with bringing security to the rebellious city of Falluja besieged by US Marines for nearly a month said today there were no foreign fighters there.

General Jasim Mohamed Saleh, once of Saddam Hussein's feared Republican Guard, also said he had yet to receive information on the men wanted for the murder and mutilation of four American contractors which sparked the siege.

"There are no foreign fighters in Falluja and the local tribal leaders have told me the same," Saleh said from the city, among the most loyal to ousted president Saddam Hussein.

US forces turned to Saleh having failed to root out insurgents they estimate at up to 2,000 of the city's population of 300,000.

US authorities have said there may be something like 200 foreign fighters in Falluja, although the information is vague. They have demanded that people in Falluja hand them over.