Friday, August 03, 2007

U.S. begins clearing operations in Samarra

Above: Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division conduct a foot patrol in Samarra in June.

Iraqi troops supported by an American battalion have begun “clearing operations” in Samarra, isolating the city by sealing a berm that rings the east side of the city.

The operation comes some three weeks after gunmen killed the city’s mayor and nearly two months after attackers destroyed the two minarets of a sacred Shiite shrine in the city.

Once Iraqi troops clear the city, “we plan to work with the city government of Samarra and the local tribes to deny Al-Qaeda future safe havens and to revitalize the city of Samarra through a large scale reconstruction effort,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a news release.

The new operation includes some 1,000 Iraqi troops, along with the U.S. battalion.

Read therest at Stars and Stripes

Related Link:
Holy shrine attacked again, minarets downed in blast; Sadr calls for 3 days of mourning, suspends bloc in parliament; Curfew in Baghdad

Related Link:
Perspective: Salah ad-Din province violent from day 1