Two US troops killed, 75 insurgents detained in US-Iraqi air-ground assault near Samarra north of Baghdad

Local doctors report 18 dead and 35 injured, including civilians.
More than 50 aircraft, 1,500 US and Iraq troops, 200 tactical vehicles are targeting suspected insurgents in the hotbed Salaheddin province around Samarra 100 kilometers north of Baghdad. Al Qaeda strongholds are believed to abound in that area. On the first day of Operation Swarmer, large weapons caches were discovered, with artillery shells, explosives, uniforms and supplies of IED-making materials, which the Americans accuse Iran of smuggling into Iraq.
The assault will continue for several days. It comes in the wake of sectarian violence triggered by last month’s bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra, attributed to al Qaeda, which has cost 1,000 lives.

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