More Iraqi troops in Baghdad

Iraq`s government will pour tens of thousands of Iraqi troops into Baghdad in an unprecedented operation to seal off the city and hunt insurgents who have launched a fresh wave of violence, ministers said on Thursday.

Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi said 40,000 Iraqi troops would be deployed in Baghdad for Operation Thunder, the biggest Iraqi military operation since the fall of &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Saddam Hussein. Backed by the 10,000 U.S. troops in Baghdad, they will set up hundreds of checkpoints and block roads into the capital.

The dramatic rise in suicide bombings and ambushes by mostly &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Sunni Arab guerrillas has killed more than 600 Iraqis in the last four weeks and raised fears that Iraq could slide toward civil war if the Shi'ite-led government does not deliver on pledges of stability.

Dulaimi said the crackdown would expand to other parts of Iraq after starting in Baghdad. But he did not say where the extra troops would come from or what their level of training would be. Many Iraqi troops are undertrained and underequipped, informs Reuters.

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