US military: US plans quick strikes on al Qaida

The US military is planning a series of "quick-strike" attacks all around Iraq to go after militants who evaded the big military operation of recent weeks, a top commander said Friday. Army Lt. -Gen. Ray Odierno also said commanders right now are planning to withdraw by August next year all troops sent as part of President George w. Bush's buildup this year. Military operations launched since the US troop buildup have helped coalition forces retake some territory in main population centers from extremists, he said, adding that militants have now moved to remote areas. He noted this week's devastating bomb attack in two remote northern villages that officials say killed at least 500 people. "Due to the constant pressure and depletion of their leadership, extremists have been pushed out of many population centers and are on the move, seeking other places to operate within the country," Odierno told a Pentagon press conference by video from Baghdad.