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Second Phase Of Baghdad Security Plan Launched

August 9, 2006 -- U.S. and Iraqi forces today formally launched the second phase of a security plan designed to regain control of the streets of Baghdad.

The commander of U.S.-led forces in the Baghdad region, Major General James Thurman, said the level of violence in Bagdad that is fueling sectarianism "must be dramatically reduced."

The second phase of Operation Together Forward will bring an extra 6,000 Iraqi police and troops into the capital, along with 5,500 U.S. soldiers.

The first phase of the plan, which began in June, has already put more than 50,000 soldiers on the streets.

The violence has continued, however. A series of bombings in central Baghdad on August 8 killed at least 19 people. Five more died in a bank robbbery in a northern district of the capital.

Elsewhere, a U.S. Marine helicopter has crashed in Iraq's restive Al-Anbar Governorate, west of Baghdad, leaving two crew members missing. The U.S. military says four other crew members are in stable condition.

The military says the crash took place on August 8 and does not appear to have been the result of enemy action.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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