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American Forces Press Service

Abizaid, Swannack Escape Injury in Fallujah Attack>

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2004 -- The top military commander in Southwest Asia and the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division escaped injury today when their convoy was attacked while entering an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps battalion headquarters in Fallujah, Iraq.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., 82nd Airborne Division commander, and all other members of their group were reported safe following the incident, which took place at about 1:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EST).

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Coalition Joint Task Force 7, told reporters in Baghdad today that three rocket-propelled grenades were fired from rooftops near the ICDC compound. Coalition and Iraqi forces returned fire and pursued the attackers. No soldiers or civilians were injured, Kimmitt said, and a search by ICDC forces of a mosque believed to be harboring the attackers came up empty.

Kimmitt said he spoke with Swannack before taking the podium for today's press briefing. Swannack attributed the attack to a small number of people whom he said are not representative of the 95 percent of people in Fallujah who he believes fully support the coalition.

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