The US military and Iraqi forces launched a joint counterinsurgency mission against armed operatives in Ramadi, 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Baghdad on Friday morning. The mission, called Operation Shank, came one day after a public rally in which the armed insurgents openly showed their support for the Taliban. Footage of the demonstration was broadcasted throughout the Arab media. "The purpose of the operation is to disrupt a terrorist group that utilizes an area of Ramadi as its base for attacks on local Ramadi citizens, Iraqi and US military," the statement said. It is the fifth such operation in the area in recent weeks designed to calm the area before the December 15 parliamentary elections.