It’s called Operation Swarmer and it’s taking place in Samarra, the city where the golden dome was attacked:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — U.S. forces, joined by Iraqi troops, on Thursday launched the largest air assault since the U.S.-led invasion, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital, the military said.
The U.S. military said the offensive dubbed Operation Swarmer was aimed at clearing “a suspected insurgent operating area” northeast of Samarra and was expected to continue over several days.
“More than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation,” the military statement said.
Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, was the site of a massive bombing against a Shiite shrine on Feb. 22 that touched off sectarian bloodshed that has killed more than 500 and injured hundreds more, threatening to push Iraq into civil war.
It is a key city in Salahuddin province, a major part of the so-called Sunni triangle where insurgents have been active since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion three years ago. Saddam Hussein was captured in the province, not far from its capital and his hometown, Tikrit.
Iraq’s interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the attack had been necessary to prevent insurgents from forming a new stronghold such as they had established in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
“After Fallujah and some of the operations carried out successfully in the Euphrates and Syrian border many of the insurgents moved to areas nearer to Baghdad,” Zebari said on CNN. “They have to be pulled out by the roots.”
During his daily press briefing, Scott McClellan just said that commanders on the ground made the decision to begin this assault and that President Bush didn’t need to approve it, which the Washington Press Corp refuses to accept. They are all trying to assert that President Bush ordered this strike for political purposes.