US Sees Huge Gains in Baghdad Security

City sees dramatic improvement in security from a year ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2008 8:37 AM CST
Performers and Shiite believers take part in a Festival of Muharram procession in north Baghdad's Kazimiyah neighborhood, Iraq, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. A suicide bomber struck Shiites for the second...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US and Iraqi forces have secured 75% of Baghdad's neighborhoods, a sharp increase from pre-surge days, USA Today reports. The combined forces "basically own the streets," said a US colonel. Military figures say that 356 of 474 of the city's neighborhoods have returned to some semblance of normalcy, with violence all but eliminated and economic activity returning. A year ago, fewer than 40 of those neighborhoods were deemed secure.

"In areas that are in 'control' status, the complaint is not security," the colonel said. "The complaint is essential services." Iraqi officials are struggling to restore electricity and water to residents. The security gains follow the US decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq last year.