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August 14, 2007 -- The U.S. military says about 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have begun a new operation in Diyala Governorate, north of Baghdad.
The operation targets militants who fled an earlier crackdown on the provincial capital, Ba'qubah.
Operation Lightning Hammer, which began overnight with an air assault, is part of a nationwide push called Operation Phantom Strike announced August 13 against Sunni and Shi'ite militants.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said in a statement today that three U.S. soldiers were killed and another wounded in an explosion near their vehicle during maneuvers in northern Ninawa Governorate.
Another soldier was wounded and transported to a U.S. medical facility for treatment.