US launches 'major Iraq assault'
The US military says it has launched a major air offensive against insurgents near the central Iraqi city of Samarra.
More than 50 aircraft and 1,500 Iraqi and US troops have been deployed in the operation, according to a military statement.
The air assault is the biggest since the 2003 invasion, the military said.A bomb attack on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, 100km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, last month sparked widespread sectarian violence.
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