Ahead of Bush Speech, Battle for Baghdad Gets a Dress Rehearsal

Ahead of Bush Speech, Battle for Baghdad Gets a Dress Rehearsal

In advance of President Bush's speech Wednesday evening, the sound and shape of his new strategy for Iraq unfolded in Baghdad's Haifa Street district Tuesday, when over 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops supported by helicopter gunships and F-15 fighter jets engaged Sunni Muslim insurgents in one of their strongholds.

The Iraqi authorities said about 50 militants were killed in one of the biggest operations in the capital since the 2003 invasion. The offensive effectively launched of the Battle for Baghdad, one of the key elements of the new U.S. strategy to pull Iraq back from the brink of chaos.

Iraqi sources say the operation unveiled new, tougher rules of engagement for U.S. forces, and the Iraqi army units fighting alongside them surprised eyewitnesses with their unusual willingness to do battle.

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