Sunday Baghdad operations focus on Rusafa district
Above: U.S. and Iraqi troops force their way into an auto repair garage in the Rusafa neighborhood in Baghdad. Left: Colored box showing location of Rusafa district of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD, Feb. 11 — American troops locked down a large industrial area of eastern Baghdad on Sunday while Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, without indicating how he would do it, vowed to speed the deployment of Iraqi forces throughout the war-ravaged capital.
American commanders described the operation in the area, the Rusafa district, as an early taste of the large-scale sweeps expected in eastern Baghdad to take back some measure of control from militias. Soldiers from the Third Stryker Brigade Combat Team, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., were fired on by insurgents with automatic rifles. The soldiers detained 10 Iraqis while searching for a car-bomb manufacturing site in the area, a violent sectarian fault line between a Shiite enclave and the insurgent-ridden Sunni neighborhood of Fadhil.
The operations in eastern Baghdad are to be a centerpiece of the so-called surge of 21,000 troops that many here view as a last-ditch effort to save the country from all-out civil war. Eastern Baghdad “is a focal point for us right now,” said Brig. Gen. John Campbell, deputy commander of coalition troops in Baghdad. American-led forces say they have conducted 3,400 patrols and detained 140 suspects in the past week.
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