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Command Center For Baghdad Offensive Opens

The site of a Baghdad explosion in the early hours of February 4 (epa) February 5, 2007 -- A command center for a joint U.S.-Iraqi military offensive aimed at restoring security in Baghdad is due go into operation today.

The command center is to be headed by Iraqi Lieutenant General Abud Qanbar.

U.S. Colonel Doug Heckman, an adviser to the Iraqi Army, said the planned offensive will be of a much greater magnitude than previous security crackdowns against militants in Baghdad.

Heckman said the offensive was expected to begin soon after the command center becomes operational.

It was not immediately clear how many Iraqi and U.S. troops will take part in the offensive.

U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered more than 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, most of them planned to assist the Baghdad security operation.

The command center is coming into operation following a fresh series of deadly sectarian attacks in Baghdad, including a truck bombing on February 3 that killed some 130 people in a Shi'ite area of the capital.

(AP, Reuters)

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