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21 February 2005.


See also Eyeballing the Iraq Kill and Maim Zone.

1,525 US Military Dead During Iraq War: http://cryptome.org/mil-dead-iqw.htm

See also DoD tally: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf


New York Times, 21 February 2005

U.S. Starts New Offensive Against Rebels

By JOHN F. BURNS

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 20 - Three months after American forces recaptured the insurgent stronghold of Falluja in the biggest operation of the war, the Marine division that led the assault said Sunday that it had started a new offensive against insurgents in Ramadi, Falluja's twin city, on the Euphrates about 75 miles west of Baghdad.

The Marine statement gave few details, beyond saying that the first moves of the offensive have involved curfews and travel controls along a 100-mile stretch of the Euphrates that runs northwest toward the Syrian border. The statement said that the offensive involved other cities along the river, including Hit, Baghdadi and Haditha, and that the aim was to "locate, isolate and defeat" insurgents intent on disrupting the new government after Iraq's recent elections.

The offensive appeared to be a new phase in the military strategy adopted last summer, when the American military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., took over with a plan to reclaim a string of cities that had fallen to insurgent control.

Between August and November, the strategy drove Shiite rebels out of the holy city of Najaf, forced a standdown by the same group in Baghdad's Sadr City district, and ended Sunni insurgents' stranglehold on Falluja, a major staging post for attacks.

The Falluja offensive ended with much of the city reduced to rubble, and insurgent groups still capable, weeks later, of mounting attacks from isolated pockets of resistance.

But American commanders acknowledged a more compelling reason that the offensive had proved less decisive than they had hoped. Many rebels fled ahead of the offensive, some north to Mosul, some southeast toward Sunni strongholds south of Baghdad, and others to Ramadi, 40 miles to the west, where insurgents last year took a measure of control almost on a par with their takeover of Falluja.

Ramadi, with a population of 400,000, is larger than Falluja and strategically as important. The stretch of the Euphrates involved in the offensive is a crucial communications corridor.

It has the main road and railway line connecting central Iraq to Syria, long accused by American commanders of acting as a sanctuary and staging post for insurgents and those financing them.

A major oil pipeline runs along the river's west bank. And to the east lies one of the country's most important power transmission lines, connecting a hydroelectric dam at Haditha to Baghdad.

The Marines said they had imposed a 10-hour night curfew around Ramadi and established "access control points" on roads into the city to screen vehicles "for terrorists and criminals, as well as weapons and materials" for making bombs. The command statement quoted Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commander of the First Marine Division, as saying the offensive had been requested by Iraq's interim government.


Photos from 2005. Captions by Associated Press.
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This undated photo was released by the family of Staff Sgt. Jason Hendrix. Hendrix, a member of the Ninth Infantry, was killed Wednesday when his squad came under heavy artillery attack in Ramadi, about 60 miles west of Baghdad, his family said. The Defense Department, in an announcement Friday, Feb. 18, 2005, said Hendrix died in an explosion during combat operations. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the family via the Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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** EDITORS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** Onlookers start running at the sound of U.S. soldiers shooting in the air to disperse them, as an unidentified man lies dying on the ground, seconds after being shot by gunmen shouting "American spy" in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005. The man was evacuated to hospital, but later died. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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** EDITORS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A unidentified man lies dying on the ground, seconds after being shot by gunmen shouting "American spy" in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005. The man was evacuated to hospital, but later died. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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Insurgents engage in street fighting in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005. Four suicide bombers blew themselves up Saturday, killing at least five people, in the latest wave of violence to mar the most important holiday in the Shiite Muslim calendar.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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Insurgents engage in street fighting in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005. Four suicide bombers blew themselves up Saturday, killing at least five people, in the latest wave of violence to mar the most important holiday in the Shiite Muslim calendar.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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Insurgents engage in street fighting in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad in Iraq Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005. Four suicide bombers blew themselves up Saturday, killing at least five people, in the latest wave of violence to mar the most important holiday in the Shiite Muslim calendar.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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A local boy tries to lift a piece of amoured plating from a U.S. armoured vehicle at the scene of an overnight bomb attack on a U.S. convoy of armoured vehicles on the outskirts of Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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A local resident looks back at the scene of an overnight bomb attack on a U.S. convoy of armored vehicles on the outskirts of Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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This image from video released Friday, Feb. 18, 2005 allegedly shows two missing Indonesian journalists, Meutya Viada Hafid, 26, left, and Budiyanto, 36, flanked by two masked gunmen. The pair had been missing since Tuesday after they were seen being stopped by unidentified men in military uniform in the turbulent Iraqi city of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad. (AP Photo/APTN) **TV OUT**

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** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** Iraqi youths stand next to five dead bodies in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005. Insurgents claimed the men worked for the Americans. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** Iraqis gather next to dead bodies found on the street in the morning, in Ramadi, 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Friday, Jan. 28, 2005. A message from the insurgents was found near the bodies, but was taken away by the U.S. troops. The al-Qaida terror network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued a fresh warning Friday against this weekend's national balloting, telling Iraqis that they will only have themselves to blame if they are killed or injured in election day attacks. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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Local residents gather around to look at the body of Iraqi soldier Hafidh Abid Farhan, killed by insurgents in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Monday, Feb. 7, 2005. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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** EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT ** U.S. troops patrol past four bodies of dead Iraqi soldiers in Ramadi, 113 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Friday, Jan. 28, 2005. Four soldiers were kidnapped four days earlier and found dead with a message from the insurgents. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

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Jesus Fonseca, left, and his wife Gloria Fonseca, pray next to the flag-draped casket of their son, Pfc. Jesus Fonseca, Friday, Jan. 28 2005, at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Marietta, Ga. Fonseca, 19, was killed Jan. 17, in a car bombing in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, the Pentagon said. He was assigned to the Second Infantry Division based at Camp Casey, South Korea. (AP Photo/Marietta Daily Journal, Bret Gerbe)

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Bodies of three Jordanian truck drivers lie on the ground near Ramadi, some 110kms west of Baghdad, Iraq, late Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005. The three drivers, were killed by the insurgents and left on the outskirts of Rasmadi with the message claimnig they were working on cooperation with the Americans. (AP Photo)

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A wounded Iraqi is carried away, left, as another man reacts after learning that his sister and parents were killed, in Ramadi, 100kms west of Baghdad, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005. Four Iraqi civilians were killed and two others were injured when U.S. soldiers opened fire after their convoy was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades in central Ramadi, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad, according to Dr. Riyad al-Hiti of the Ramadi hospital. The U.S. military had no immediate information about the incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)