Hundreds of British troops have begun moving from their base in southern Iraq to positions around Baghdad, to free up U.S. troops for an expected offensive against insurgent strongholds west of the capital.
The United States requested the redeployment, and in response, some 800 Scottish soldiers from the First Battalion, Black Watch Battle Group are being shifted from relatively calm areas of southern Iraq to the much more hazardous region.
Until now, 68 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq, compared with more than 1,000 American troops.
The troop move is part of a coalition effort to improve security before Iraqi general elections scheduled for January.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military says an American soldier was killed and another wounded in a motorcycle bomb attack on their convoy north of Baghdad Wednesday.
Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.