US Goes on Move Against Qaeda

New strategy will refocus troops away from Baghdad
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted Jun 16, 2007 5:42 PM CDT
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, center, arrives at a joint security station in Baghdad, Iraq on Saturday, June 16, 2007. U.S. troops, Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi police officers all operate out of the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In a major tactical shift, the US is set to launch a large-scale offensive against Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, General David Petraeus said today. The new campaign moves attention away from Baghdad's sectarian violence to the outskirts of the capital, where the military will target Al-Qaeda strongholds and aim to destroy their bomb-making capabilities.

Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia has launched a devastating wave of car bomb attacks throughout the country, and is thought to be resposible for the recent bombing of the Samarra shrine. But the change in tactics may be more desperation than retaliation: The military is trying to show results in advance of the September review of the troop surge, the Times reports.