The BBC reports that the US and Iraqi forces have moved into Samarra with brigade strength and coordinated jet and tank attacks on 2,000 fighters in the city has been a terrorist stronghold in answer to the ongoing kidnapings and attacks. They have killed 80 terrorists and retaken key positions in the city:
The US military says it has killed more than 80 insurgents in a major offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra. US and Iraqi forces say they took control of government and police buildings in the restive city, in a raid that began just after midnight.
The US claim that 80 insurgents had died came after local doctors said at least 20 civilians had been killed.
The attack targeted 2,000 fighters who the US says have made Samarra a base for attacks across the country.
This is the opening salvo in a larger plan to eliminate terrorist strongholds still left, such as in Fallujah, Sadr City, and the handful of other hot spots in the Sunni Triangle before the election. The tactics have changed since April’s abortive mission in Fallujah; this time they entered the city in force and used all the tools at their disposal, rather than set siege and waited for the residents to leave first. Samarra will be a test ground for the strategy in Fallujah, and one has to think that the hammer will fall there soon after Samarra is brought under the control of the Iraqi government.