US military detains 200 in N Iraq operation

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Baghdad, Nov 11: US and Iraqi forces have detained more than 200 suspected insurgents and three ''high-value'' al Qaeda operatives in a major operation in northern Iraq, the US military said today.

It said in a statement that significant progress had been made against al Qaeda in Iraq during the first week of the operation in four northern provinces.

It had also netted muhtiple weapons caches that included more than a tonne of various explosives, hundreds of artillery rounds and rockets, the statement added.

''The combined operations of Iraqi Security Forces and US Army brigades in our four provinces in Northern Iraq have been nothing short of phenomenal,'' said US Major-General Mark Hertling, a senior military commander in Iraq.

The operation aims to keep up pressure on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda. Many operatives from the militant group fled to northern Iraq from western Anbar province and Baghdad when the US military stepped up offensives in those areas earlier this year.

The US military has hailed what it calls successes in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, but has warned that the group, which is blamed for most major car bombings in Iraq, could regroup.

Reuters>

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