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U.S. Forces Launch Massive Operation in Iraq

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  • U.S. Forces Launch Massive Operation in Iraq

    http://<br />,90662,00.html
    CAMP BOOM, Iraq — U.S. forces launched a massive operation Sunday to round up insurgents and senior figures left over from the defeated Iraqi regime, including Saddam Hussein (search).

    The show of force is designed to stem a wave of deadly guerrilla-style attacks on U.S. troops. Military officials say they believe remaining Baath Party loyalists and anti-American Iraqis have been hiring mercenaries to carry out attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces.

    “We can no longer stand for our guys getting killed like this,” Col. David Hunt, U.S. Army Ret, and military expert for Fox News said Sunday.

    Finding Saddam Hussein is essential, Hunt said.

    “He’s becoming an evil Elvis. We vilified him, said he was evil, therefore we’ve got to get him. It looks to me like we’re in the middle of a resurgence [of resistance] and we can’t have a figurehead like Hussein out there.”

    In the latest round of violence, two American troops were wounded and an Iraqi civilian was killed in an attack on a U.S. military convoy early Sunday, the military said. The convoy was en route to Baghdad International Airport (search).

    The U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer (search), said American forces must kill or capture Saddam so he can no longer be a rallying point for anti-coalition attacks that have killed more than 60 American troops since the war ended. He said holdout Baath Party members and perhaps terrorists from neighboring countries drew strength from Saddam's apparent survival.

    "I think it is important that we either catch him or kill him," Bremer told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday. "There is no doubt that the fact that we have not been able to show his fate allows the remnants on the Baath regime to go around the bazaars and villages and say Saddam will come back so do not cooperate with the coalition."

    This latest attack brings the toll of American dead since the war began to more than 200. Nearly one third of those deaths resulted from attacks or accidents since major combat was declared over May 1.

    The new military operation, dubbed "Desert Sidewinder," will take place in a huge area of central Iraq stretching from the Iranian border to regions north of Baghdad, and is expected to last several days, military officials said. The operation is intended as a follow-up to an earlier sweep, "Desert Scorpion" (search) in which troops rounded up insurgents in a door-to-door campaign.

    Peter Brookes, a former CIA officer, told Fox News that using the appropriate amount of force during stability maneuvers such as Operation Sidewinder is paramount.

    “We have to bring people to justice quickly and show them we’re not to be messed with…but these are surgical strikes, not just decimating villages.”

    As part of the operation, Americans arrested a man in Khalis, 45 miles north of Baghdad. He is suspected of recruiting young men to launch attacks on Americans, according to military officials.

    In Dojima, an upscale town where Sunni Muslim (search) residents recently cleaned the still-standing portrait of Saddam, police raided homes of alleged Saddam loyalists they suspected of hiding caches of arms, including rocket-propelled grenades -- the weapon of choice in many recent ambushes.

    The operation, named after a rattlesnake, kicked off at about 2 a.m. Sunday, with officers simultaneously raiding as many sites as possible.

    "We go in with such overwhelming combat power that they won't even think about shooting us," Lt. Col. Mark Young said earlier.

    U.S. officials in Washington have said repeatedly that no centralized Iraqi resistance to American rule remains. But on the ground, U.S. military personnel face "an organized effort," Young said.

    "Somewhere in Diala province, something happens every night," said Capt. John Wrann, referring to the province northeast of Baghdad where much of the operation was taking place. "It's got to be a coordinated thing."

    Insurgents have stepped up their attacks against U.S. troops in recent days, carrying out ambushes against military convoys, shooting soldiers in Baghdad, and lobbing grenades at patrols.

    In the latest attack, an improvised explosive device exploded as a U.S. military convoy made its way on a highway in southwest Baghdad that heads out to the airport, said Cpl. Todd Pruden, a military spokesman. He said it was not clear if the explosive device was thrown at the convoy, or placed in the road. Two vehicles were damaged.

    The injured were evacuated to a military hospital and no arrests were made. The identity of the Iraqi civilian was not released, nor was it clear if the victim was a passer-by or had been traveling with the soldiers at the time of the attack.

    In other violence, insurgents using rocket propelled grenades ambushed a U.S. patrol west of Baghdad on Sunday.

    One grenade struck a Bradley fighting vehicle patrolling near Khaldiyah, 35 miles west of Baghdad, but didn't cause any significant damage or injuries. U.S. troops returned fire with 25 mm cannon, but the attackers ran away.

    Meanwhile, the remains of two missing soldiers were found 20 miles northwest of the capital on Saturday morning, while their Humvee was recovered Friday in another location nearby, a senior Pentagon official said on condition of anonymity.

    Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, 37, of Roselle, N.J., and Pfc. Kevin Ott, 27, of Columbus, Ohio, were last seen Wednesday at their post in the town of Balad, 25 miles north of Baghdad.

    Some of the soldiers' personal items were found during a house-to-house search in the area on Friday, and 12 Iraqis have been taken into custody, the U.S. military said from Baghdad.

    In other violence, attackers lobbed a grenade at a U.S. convoy making its way through the predominantly Shiite Thawra neighborhood of northeast Baghdad late Friday, killing one American soldier and wounding four others, military spokesman Sgt. Patrick Compton said. A civilian Iraqi interpreter also was wounded, he said. No arrests were made and no further details were immediately available.

    Another soldier, shot in the neck Friday as he shopped at a Baghdad market, was listed in critical condition Sunday, the military said.

    The deaths bring to at least 63 the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq since major combat was declared over on May 1. The military has confirmed the identities of 138 soldiers killed before that date, for a total of 201 so far, while the names of several other casualties have not yet been made available. Some 42 British troops have died in the current conflict.

    The American death toll was still far below the 382 U.S. troops killed in the 1991 Gulf War.

    It is impossible to know how many Iraqi soldiers have died since the war started on March 20. An Associated Press investigation completed earlier this month found that at least 3,240 civilians died throughout the country.

    In the BBC interview, Bremer said progress was being made in restoring basic services to the country and health care, water and power supplies were improving. He said 240 hospitals across the country and 95 percent of health clinics were now operating and Baghdad now had 18 to 20 hours of electricity a day.

    He added that law and order had to be restored to ensure the country could be rebuilt.

    "Am I satisfied? No," said Bremer, "We will do our best and we will succeed. I do not know when that will be."
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  • #2
    I thought they did that a few months ago?

    No makeovers please .....