About 2,000 soldiers with the Baumholder, Germany-based 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division were expected to take part inthe second phase of an operation to secure Baghdad from violence, a news release from Multi-National Corps-Iraq says. The soldiers have been moved up from Kuwait to Baghdad over the past couple weeks, said a Multi-National Division-Baghdad spokesman.

“We must dramatically reduce the level of violence in Baghdad that is fueling sectarianism,” said Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman, commander, Multi-National Division-Baghdad in the news release. “Iraqi and U.S. forces will help the citizens of Baghdad by reducing the violence that has plagued this city since the Samarra bombing.”

Monday marked the beginning of Phase II of Operation Together Forward, the first phase of which was launched in July. The initial operation was intended to clamp down on violence, but U.S. commanders later told The New York Times that the operation did not meet its goals, and Gen. George Casey extended about 3,700 troops with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team so they could help bolster security in Baghdad.

The second phase of the operation began with soldiers with the 4th Brigade Combat Team 4th Infantry Division conducting “clearing operations” in Baghdad, the MNC-I news release says.

About 3,500 with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division are tasked with launching “intelligence-driven” operations in support of Iraqi security forces, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington, a spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division.

“ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] is targeting those responsible for murders, VBIEDs (car bombs), and kidnapping,” Withington said Tuesday. “We’re actively targeting them and we’re going after them.”

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