FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) – The U.S. Army has diverted an infantry battalion from the fighting in Fallujah and sent them back to Mosul after an uprising there by insurgents, U.S. military officials said Saturday.

The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 25th Infantry Division, was ordered back to Mosul late Thursday after militants attacked bridges, police stations and government buildings in the city, officials said.

The battalion, which is now part of the Stryker Brigade of Task Force Olympia, was already back in the Mosul area.

Some U.S. officials believed the Mosul attacks were in sympathy for Sunni Muslim fighters besieged in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Insurgents appear to be taking advantage of the thinning out of American troop strength around Fallujah, and U.S. commanders report an increase in smallscale rebel attacks northeast of the city.

U.S. officials estimate there are about 1,000 to 2,000 insurgents in the towns and villages in the Fallujah area who were not trapped inside the city during the U.S.-Iraqi siege, which began Monday.

AP-ES-11-13-04 0730EST



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