US forces seal off town

31 October 2003
American troops sealed off the village of Uja - Saddam Hussein's birthplace, about 95 miles north of Baghdad - and started issuing identity cards to villagers, reported AP on 31 October. US soldiers have surrounded the village with razor wire and set up checkpoints at the exits. The move is an attempt to monitor the movement of people in areas that have remained comparatively loyal to Saddam Hussein's regime. 'This is an effort to protect the majority of the population, the people who want to get on with their lives,' US military spokesman Steve Russell said.

In a separate incident in Fallujah, west of the capital, a group of local men stormed the governor's office after a large explosion in the building. Iraqi police shot dead a man in ensuing clashes. Two police cars were also set ablaze in the unrest.

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