Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi forces on Monday launched their biggest Baghdad raid in recent weeks, moving on foot through a central neighborhood and rounding up dozens of suspected insurgents, the military said.A report in The New York Times says senior Pentagon officials think their campaign in Iraq has made enough progress to plan significant troop cuts by early next year. The report says commanders cite progress in fighting insurgents and training Iraqi security forces.
About 500 members of Iraq's police and army swept through buildings in the Rashid neighborhood along with a "couple hundred" American soldiers, detaining 65 suspected militants, Lt. Col. Clifford Kent of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division said.
One Iraqi soldier suffered injuries but no American casualties were reported in the largest joint U.S.-Iraqi raid in Iraq's capital since the Fort Stewart, Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division assumed responsibility for the city on Feb. 27, Kent said.
One suspected insurgent was also being treated for wounds, the military said in a statement.
In other recent developments:
In the western town of Qaim, witnesses said insurgents hit the main gates of a U.S. military base with twin suicide car bombs early Monday.
At least three civilians were injured, said Ammar Fuad, a doctor at the hospital where they were taken. U.S. military officials had no immediate comment.
In Baqouba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans, continuing three days of protests against U.S. forces. Tens of thousands gathered Saturday in Baghdad to call for U.S.-led troops to leave, and more demonstrations were held on Sunday.
A Defense Ministry official said that Iraqi security forces have arrested a person who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two French journalists abducted and later released in Iraq. Iraqi army soldiers detained Amer Hussein Sheikhan in the Mahmoudiya area on April 4, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. No further details were available.
A group claiming to have kidnapped a Pakistani diplomat in Iraq has demanded money for his release, a senior Pakistani government official said Monday on condition of anonymity. Malik Mohammed Javed, a deputy counselor at the Pakistani mission in Baghdad, went missing late Saturday after leaving home for prayers at a nearby mosque.
Sunday, the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed to have kidnapped and killed Najaf police Brig. Gen. Bassem Mohammed Kadhim al-Jazaari while he was visiting Baghdad. "After his confessions, God's verdict was carried out against him," said the statement, which could not be independently verified. Iraqi Interior Ministry official Capt. Ahmed Isma'el said al-Jazaari was kidnapped in western Baghdad late Saturday, along with his nephew, but he had no other details.
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