- Title: IRAQ: U.S. military continue with their offensive on Samarra
- Date: 22nd March 2006
- Summary: (W2) SAMARRA, IRAQ (MARCH 21, 2006)(REUTERS) MAN STANDING OUTSIDE HOUSE DAMAGED BY BOMBING; CHILDREN NEAR THE HOUSE/ RUBBLE COVERING AREA AND OWNER OF THE HOUSE SAYING THAT THE PLANES BOMBED THE AREA
- Embargoed: 6th April 2006 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: War / Fighting
- Reuters ID: LVA9DE7OPOV3P1W9LQQ3GIAI7BHK
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The U.S. military forces on Tuesday (March 21, 2006) pressed ahead with the largest military offensive north of the capital Baghdad to root out insurgency.
Launched on 16 March, the offensive named 'Operation Swarmer' is the largest air assault since the US invasion of Iraq, involving 650 US troops and some 900 Iraqis with the aim of rooting out insurgents believed to have taken refuge in the area.
The offensive damaged a number of the houses in the city and forced hundreds of families to flee their houses.
To help families besieged inside the city, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has sent convoys of trucks carrying aid supplies including food and non food items like tents and clothes.
Meanwhile, a local female worker of the Red Crescent Society, kidnapped by a group of gunmen was released by the residents of the city.
Thawra Abed Lafta, who runs the Red Crescent operations in the city was released two hours after being kidnapped.
"I was kidnapped while distributing aid supplies to Samarra people in al-Mu'tasim district. I was kidnapped by three people who took me to another area but I was released thanks to the good people, my brothers who helped me, I would like to thank them," Mrs Lafta said.
Iraqi and U.S. forces have carried out similar sweeps in past months, mostly in the west and north, but Operation Swarmer has attracted an unusual amount of interest because of the U.S. military's description of the offensive as the biggest "air assault" since a similar airlift just after the war in 2003.
There have been neither casualties nor any fighting in the assault, which involved troop-carrying helicopters rather than bombing raids. In a statement, the military says the attack is designed to clear a suspected insurgent operating area.
The offensive is using 1,500 Iraqi and American troops, 200 assault vehicles, and 50 aircraft. The attack is expected to last for several days.
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