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10,000 US Troops Launch Major Iraq Offensive

From an outraged Reuters:

U.S. says 10,000 troops in major Iraq offensive

By Dean Yates

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military deployed 10,000 soldiers backed by attack helicopters in a big offensive against al Qaeda north of Baghdad on Tuesday as a truck bomber struck in the capital, killing 75 people near a Shi’ite mosque.

The offensive against al Qaeda around the city of Baquba in Diyala province, a stronghold of the Sunni Islamist group, is partly aimed at taking down car bomb networks that cause carnage in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq. It is one of the biggest military operations since the invasion of Iraq in 2003…

The U.S. military said 22 militants were killed in the early hours of the offensive against al Qaeda around Baquba.

“The end state is to destroy the al Qaeda influences in this province and eliminate their threat against the people,” Brigadier-General Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general, operations, 25th Infantry Division, said in a statement.

“That is the number one, bottom-line, up-front, in-your-face, task and purpose.”

U.S. military commanders said they were taking advantage of the completion of a build-up of American forces in Iraq under a crackdown in Baghdad that began four months ago. The crackdown has forced many militants to move to areas around the capital.

The statement said about 10,000 soldiers, backed by attack helicopters, close air support and armored fighting vehicles were taking part in Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

It did not say how long the offensive would last. But it coincides with smaller operations launched in recent days against al Qaeda in Iraq targets around Baghdad.

“It’s certainly one of the largest since the end of ground operations in 2003,” U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver told Reuters when asked to describe the significance of the operation…

If there was ever a time and place where “give war a chance” applied, it’s now in Iraq.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 19th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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