More than 1,600 American and Iraqi troops have launched “clearing operations” in a formerly upscale district of Mansour that had become notorious for murders and kidnappings.

The operation, dubbed Arrowhead Strike Nine, is aimed at ridding the area of al-Qaida in Iraq operatives and militias. It follows similar operations begun in the southern Baghdad districts of Ghazliya and Ameriya.

“Iraqi security forces partnered with coalition soldiers conducted precision raids this morning against multiple known terrorist targets and then quickly transitioned to clearing neighborhoods house by house, looking for terrorist support zones and illegal weapons caches,” a military news release read.

Soldiers “spoke with the local citizens to hear their concerns and gather information to better support the continuing Baghdad security operation known as Operation Fardh Al Qanoon.”

So far, troops have arrested 11 suspected insurgents and recovered two weapons caches that included nitric acid and chlorine, chemicals that have been used in recent insurgent attacks.

The 500 Iraqi troops included members of the 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division; 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division; 4th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division; and 5th Battalion, 2nd National Police Brigade.

Some 1,100 U.S troops from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division also were involved in the operation.

The operation is part of the larger Baghdad security effort known as the “surge” that involves sending at least 17,500 additional American troops into the capital.

For many years, Mansour was known as one of Baghdad’s most upscale neighborhoods and had some of its most popular shopping areas.

As the insurgency worsened and sectarian battles boiled over, it became one of the epicenters for violent attacks in Baghdad.

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