BAGHDAD, Iraq - In the opening battle of a major drive to tame the violent capital, the Iraqi army reported it killed 30 militants Saturday in a firefight in a Sunni insurgent stronghold just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.Read it here.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking only hours earlier at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the open-ended attempt to crush the militant fighters who have left Baghdad in the grip of sectarian violence.
Hassan al-Suneid, a key aide and member of al-Maliki's Dawa Party, said the Iraqi leader had committed 20,000 soldiers to the operation and would call upon American troops and airpower only when needed.
A stern al-Maliki told the nation the operation in Baghdad would continue "until all goals are achieved and security is ensured for all citizens.
The "surge" has started. At what point and to what extent it will involve US forces is still not clear.