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Military US, Iraqi Forces Launch Operation West of Baghdad

20 February 2005

The U.S. military says it has begun a major security operation in Iraq's western al-Anbar province.

The operation includes an overnight curfew in the provincial capital, Ramadi, and increased security measures in several cities along the Euphrates River, including Hit, Baghdadi, and Hadithah.

Iraqi security forces are said to be assisting with the operation, dubbed Operation River Blitz.

A statement from U.S. Marine Major-General Richard Natonski says the Iraqi government asked for the operation. Ramadi, located 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, has been a stronghold of insurgents fighting U.S. and Iraqi security forces.

Separately, the U.S. military says a Marine was killed in al-Anbar during a security operation on Saturday.

Insurgents killed at least 40 people in attacks in and around Baghdad on Saturday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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