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US, Iraqi Forces Launch Offensive in Western Iraq


U.S.-led forces in Iraq have launched an offensive in the far west of the country near the border with Syria in the latest effort to root out insurgents.

The U.S. military says "Operation Iron Fist" began early today-Saturday in the town of Sadah, in western al-Anbar province, about 12 kilometers from the Syrian border. The military says about 1000 American troops are involved in the offensive.

Military officials say one of the objectives is to stop foreign insurgents from entering Iraq from Syria ahead of the October 15th national referendum on the country's constitution.

U.S. forces have previously conducted several large-scale offensives against insurgents in the area. Earlier this year, the U.S. military said it had cleared two towns Qaim, Karabila of militants, only for them to return within a few weeks.

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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