US, Iraqi forces launch massive air assault

US and Iraqi forces Thursday launched what was termed the largest air assault since the US-led invasion, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital, the US military said. "More than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation," the military statement said of the attack designed to "clear a suspected insurgent group operating area northeast of Samarra," a city 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad. The military said the operation was expected to continue over several days against insurgent targets in Salahuddin province.