Perspective: U.S. reaffirms presence in Hit
Above: Petraeus is given a briefing by Lt. Col. Douglas Crissman in Hit, Iraq yesterday. Left: Soldiers on patrol in Hit.
HIT, Iraq -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq strolled through the streets of this dusty Euphrates River city Saturday, snacking on ice cream and promoting cooperation between Americans and Iraqis in a Sunni Arab community where insurgents have been driven out before _ only to return.
Gen. David Petraeus visited Hit, scene of bloody fights with insurgents for the last three years, to affirm U.S. support for a nascent city administration and to deliver a message that U.S. troops will remain here until Iraqi forces are genuinely ready to provide their own security.
To demonstrate his confidence, Petraeus, accompanied by dozens of armed U.S. troops and Iraqi policemen, strolled down the main street, stopping to buy ice cream from a vendor and wandering through the city market, where snipers were taking potshots at U.S. patrols just months ago.
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