An Iraqi military commander says a new U.S.-backed operation began Tuesday in the volatile Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
The operation is aimed at clearing al-Qaida in Iraq militants from what's considered the last major insurgent stronghold near the capital.
The U.S. military in northern Iraq confirms that the offensive is under way.
The operation has been dubbed "Omens of Prosperity." It is the latest in a series of efforts to control the largely rural area.
But U.S. and Iraqi commanders have said they're more optimistic this one can work because more troops will be involved and Iraqi security forces are better prepared.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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