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Iraqi Forces Show Signs Of Progress In Offensive

The Tall Afar offensive, which began Sept. 2, is the largest urban military operation in Iraq since November's siege of Fallujah. Unlike many previous joint offensives, however, it is the Iraqi army that has the majority of the soldiers on the ground —— 5,000 of the roughly 8,500 troops involved —— that does the most intense fighting and that pays the heaviest price. At least nine Iraqi soldiers have been killed during the operation, compared with one American.

"We were not afraid. We are here to protect our country," said Pvt. Tarek Hazem, 28, of Baghdad, his hands and uniform still red with the blood of men he helped treat when the building exploded. "All we feel is motivated to kill terrorists."

Ed Lasky  9 22 05