US military launches new offensive south of Baghdad
The US military has launched a new offensive against Iraqi insurgents south of Baghdad today.
Up to 8,000 US soldiers are involved in the operation, codenamed Marne Avalanche.
It forms part of the so-called military "surge" in Baghdad aimed at stamping out the activities of insurgents and sectarian militias.
The Americans say their actions south of the Iraqi capital are designed to cut off a staging ground for attacks on the city.