Operation Swarmer Enters Day 2 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/17/06-Baghdad

Operation Swarmer Enters Day 2

In Iraq, it's day two of what the U.S. military calls the largest air assault since the U.S. led invasion began in 2003. U.S and Iraqi soldiers are intensly searching the countryside north of Baghdad.

They have detained more than 30 people and found half a dozen weapons caches. The White House touts Operation Swarmer as a show of Iraqi military capability.

Thursday night, President bush reiterated that's the key to bringing U.S. troops home. The U.S. says Iraqi forces account for more than half the 900 troops involved in the operation but the military assets and helicopters involved are overwhelmingly American.

Operation Swarmer launched near Samarra. The flashpoint for sectarian violence that began last month when insurgents destroyed the city's Al Askariyah Mosque, a sacred shiite shrine. In Baghdad, tensions between Shiites and Sunnis has escalated into execution-style retaliatory killings that have claimed the lives of at least 160 people since Sunday.

Democratic lawmakers are increasingly skeptical about the prospects for peace in Iraq. The head of the u.s central command says tensions are high, but progress is still being made.

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