Iraqis To Lead Assault To Take Back Baghdad,

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Iraqis To Lead Assault To Take Back Baghdad,

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Joined: Oct 20 2006, 05:34 AM

Jan 6 2007, 04:49 PM #1

Story Highlights• NEW: 27 bodies found; separately, car bomb kills two
• Effort to be aided by U.S.; "outlaws" to be routed regardless of sect
• Prime minister: Hussein execution followed fair trial, was not political
• Baghdad Emergency Police chief survives car bomb attack
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq's armed forces are set for an assault on Baghdad to take out militias and rogue security forces.

Aided by multinational troops, the Iraqi forces "will hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian and political affiliations," al-Maliki said at an Iraqi Army Day parade.

"We will also severely punish those [security forces] who do not carry out orders or operate in a partisan or sectarian way," he said.

Forces will search out insurgents neighborhood-by-neighborhood, The Associated Press reported, and will start the assault this weekend.

The announcement came two days after al-Maliki and President Bush spoke by video conference for two hours.

Al-Maliki also defended the government's handling of Saddam Hussein's execution, which was captured by a clandestine cell phone video showing Shiite guards taunting Hussein just before his hanging.

"The execution was not a political decision, as some Iraqis claim. The judicial decision was done after a fair and a just trial that the dictator did not deserve," al-Maliki said. The execution only concerns Iraqis, he added, in a reference to criticism from other countries.

In an interview Thursday with the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak criticized the handling of Hussein's execution, saying it made "a martyr" of the former dictator, according to AP. ... index.html

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