Five Iraqi fighters killed as 92,000-strong US troop rotation announced
US troops killed five Iraqi resistence fighters on Monday and arrested 10 others in the town of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, it was reported Tuesday. The deaths came as US troops entered the third day of military operations in the town of Husaybah along the Iraqi-Syrian border, believed to be a popular passage point for fighters entering Iraq.
A US statement said that at least 36 other Iraqi "insurgents" had been killed since the assault began last Saturday, according to the AP.
A statement posted on an internet site which supports Al Qaeda warned the Iraqi government to end the campaign within 24 hours or face dire consequences, saying that "the earth ... shake beneath their feet." "Let them know that the price will be very heavy," it added.
Adnan Al Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab politician also urged U.S. and Iraqi forces to end the Husaybah operation, saying that would help encourage disaffected Sunnis to vote in elections next month.
US announces 92,000-strong troop rotation
Meanwhile, US government sources announced that at least 92,000 soldiers would be rotated in troop rotation procedures in Iraq through 2008. Officials believe, however that the number may rise significantly until then.
Approximately 138,000 US soldiers are currently stationed in Iraq, though figures will likely be greater due to upcoming elections in December. More than 2,050 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the US-led campaign there in 2003.