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. US begin new offensive in Iraq's "Triangle of Death"
BAGHDAD (AFP) Dec 31, 2004
The US army and marines kicked off a new offensive south of Baghdad this week in a belt of towns, known as the "triangle of death' due to the area's high rate of kidnappings and executions, the military said Friday.

"This area is one of the last places near Baghdad that the insurgent feels he can operate from. He must know that we watch him from the sky, listen to him communicate, track him on the ground, and exercise combat power upon him," said Lieutenant Colonel James Hutton of the 1st Cavalry Division.

"The insurgent cant sleep soundly, cant move about freely, and cant congregate without the knowledge that he may be killed or captured at any moment."

The troops deployed include elements of the 1st Cavalry, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Iraqi security forces.

So far, one insurgent was killed placing a bomb and nine others arrested, the military said.

It is the third major offensive in the region of northern Babel province and the southern outskirts of Baghdad since October. The towns of Iskandariyah, Mahmudiyah, Latifiyah and Yusifiyah are considered bastions of old regime loyalists.

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