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Petraeus during his confirmation hearing last month (file photo) (epa)
BAGHDAD, February 10, 2007 -- A new U.S. military leader has assumed command of the 130,000 U.S. and multinational troops serving in Iraq.
General David Petraeus succeeds General George W. Casey Jr. and will oversee President George W. Bush’s recently announced plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.
Petraeus said during a handover ceremony at a U.S. military base near Baghdad today that the U.S.-Iraqi offensive under way in Baghdad has "good" prospects of success. He said that the mission to end continuing violence is "hard" but "doable."
Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched a crackdown in Baghdad, the epicenter of continuing violence. The offensive is expected to build up gradually over the coming weeks and months.
Also today, the U.S. military announced that three U.S. soldiers were killed and four wounded in an explosion on February 9 in Diyala Governate, northeast of Baghdad.
The new deaths bring the U.S. military death toll this month to 36.