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U.S. Offensive in Western Iraq Kills 75

May 9, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ U.S. forces have launched an offensive against insurgents in western Iraq near the Syrian border, and about 75 militants were killed in the first 24 hours, the military said Monday.

It said the assault, conducted with U.S. air support in a desert area of Anbar province north of the Euphrates River, was targeting a sanctuary for foreign insurgents and a smuggling route.

The brief U.S. statement did not say when the offensive by Marines, sailors and soldiers had begun, or whether there had been any American casualties.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that more than 1,000 U.S. troops supported by fighter jets and helicopter gunships had attacked villages in and around Obeidi, a city near the Euphrates River in western Iraq not far from the Syrian border.

The report, by a journalist embedded with the U.S. forces, said the offensive ``was seeking to uproot a persistent insurgency in an area that American intelligence indicated has become a haven for foreign fighters flowing in from Syria.″

It said the offensive began Sunday was expected to last for several days.

Update hourly