Thursday, August 16, 2007

U.S. launches offensive south of Baghdad with airstrikes; 4,000 troops involved

Above: A soldier with the 3rd Infantry Division provides security during a patrol in Arab Jabour last week.

U.S. forces launched an airborne assault on a desert compound south of Baghdad on Thursday, the first air strike in a major new offensive.

A company of airborne infantry struck villas in search of Sunni Arab militants. The assault was a first part of operation Marne Husky, itself part of a countrywide push announced this week against both Sunni Arab and Shi'ite militants.

Major-General Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. forces south of Baghdad, told Reuters on Wednesday that about 4,000 of his men would be involved in the operation and would use air strikes and air-mobile infantry units to attack insurgents in the Tigris River valley south of the Iraqi capital.

Pointing on a map to the palm groves south of Baghdad in an area known as Arab Jabour, he said his troops had already pushed out many Sunni Arab militants in the past month and now planned to strike those who escaped southwards.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
U.S. launches new offensive in Diayala with air assault; 16,000 troops take part in 'Operation Lightning Hammer'

Related Link:
U.S. launches new Iraq-wide simultaneous offensive; Says 'Operation Phantom Strike' targets al-Qaeda and 'Iranian-supported extremist elements'