Photo gallery: Operation Pericles
(See story) Sgt. Nick Cooley, 21, of Lancaster, Wisc., leads men of the 82nd Airborne Division on a search for hidden weapons in the palm groves of Abu Karmah. Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne conduct house-to-house searches. Arif Ahmed Rasheed, a freelance vegetable produce truck driver, comforts his daughter while she and his other daughter and wife look on as soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division conduct a search of his house in the small village of Abu Karmah. Soldiers assaulted the village early Tuesday morning in a new offensive on al-Qaida in the Iraqi province of Diyala. Rasheed said he had never seen anyone from the terrorist group in his village before. Arif Ahmed Rasheed's wife and two daughters huddle together as soldiers with the 82nd Airborne look through their home. A woman is marked by a U.S. solider as the 82nd Airborne Division conducts house-to-house searches in the village of Abu Karmah. Up to 16,000 Iraqi and U.S. security forces began a campaign to root out al-Qaida militants hiding in the Diyala River Valley in the predawn hours on Tuesday. A soldier with the 82nd Airborne speaks with an Iraqi man as his family members look on. An elderly woman clings to her family as members of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division search her home. The night before, 2,000-lb bombs were dropped around their village, Abu Karmah, along with 120 mm mortars and 155 mm howizter shells. Residents said they feared for their lives. Kassim Hamid Shatee, middle, protests to U.S. military officials when they give him and the rest of the 17 members of his family living in his home two minutes to vacate temporarily. Nine of the family members were babies and children ranging in age from five days, 3 months on up to 8 years. U.S. Army personnel needed the home for a temporary command post. Kassim Hamid Shatee pleads with soldiers who say they need his house as a temporary command post. A woman and her baby prepare to leave Kassim Hamid Shatee's home as U.S. troops take up temporary residence there. The soldiers said they should leave for their own safety. Haifa Hussein Muttalak, 39, was shot in the abdomen by U.S. troops as she was caught in crossfire when paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division chased a suspicious man bearing an AK-47 rifle, according to soldiers at the scene. Haifa was airlifted via a Black Hawk helicopter to the military hospital at Balad Air Base. Army medic Spc. Chase Carman, 23, of Kalispell, Mont., treated her before she was medivaced. Haifa Hussein Muttalak has her wounds treated before being airlifted. An interpreter, left, working with the U.S. Army questions a man as troops search a home on Tuesday morning in the Diyala River Valley. Books lay scattered in the rubble of a school destroyed by U.S. forces because it had been wired with explosives.