In the opening battle of a major new drive to tame the violent capital, the Iraqi army reported it killed 30 militants in a fire fight in a Sunni insurgent stronghold in the center of Baghdad, just to the north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking only hours earlier on Saturday, at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the relentless and open-ended bid to crush militant fighters bedeviling Baghdad.
Hassan al-Suneid, a key aid and member of al-Maliki's Dawa Party, said the Iraqi leader had committed 20,000 soldiers to the operation that would call upon American troops and airpower only when needed.
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