US Bombs al-Qaeda Sites in Iraq

Strike was aimed at al-Qaeda safe havens north of Baghdad
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2008 7:35 AM CST
The Air Force prepares a B-1 bomber for operations.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – US bombers and fighters dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives on al-Qaeda stronghold Arab Jabour, an agricultural area just north of Baghdad. The 10-minute strike flattened 40 targets ahead of ground troops as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix, a new offensive against al-Qaeda, the AP reports. Nine US troops have been killed since the operation began Tuesday, including six in one booby-trapped house in Diyala province, also north of Baghdad.

Phantom Phoenix is a nationwide effort, but its main focus is Diyala, where al-Qaeda has fled since being driven from Anbar, declaring the city of Baqouba the capital of its self-styled Islamic caliphate. Only Baghdad is bloodier than Diyala, and Diyala has gotten worse as Baghdad has grown safer. Excluding today’s strike, 20-30 insurgents have been killed since Tuesday.