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Iraq: U.S. Forces Raid Area North Of Baghdad

Baghdad, 26 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. military say they staged overnight a massive raid in Iraq's restive "Sunni triangle" north of Baghdad hunting for guerrillas and criminals. The 4th Infantry Division said hundreds of soldiers raided homes around Khalis, north of Baghdad, looking for a gang accused of attacks on U.S. troops and ordinary crimes.

Colonel David Hogg said that forces captured 24 suspected gang members. He said the gang is considered to be a "terrorist organization."

In a separate development, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said that U.S. President George W. Bush is later today to speak in the city of St. Louis to bolster support for his policies in Iraq amid a mounting U.S. death toll and public doubts.

Yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said no more troops are needed now in Iraq, but would not hesitate to recommend that President Bush boost forces if it became necessary.