Disrupting the Desert 'Rat Lines' in Western Iraq

May 11, 2005 | 04:00 GMT

Iraqis pose with the remnants of what they say is a destroyed U.S. military vehicle that was part of "Operation Matador" in Karbala, near the Iraqi-Syrian border.
KARABLA, Iraq: Iraqis cheer as they pose for the camera near what they say is a destroyed US military vehicle in Karabla in the al-Qaim district close to the Syrian Iraqi border, 15 May 2005. The vehicle was destroyed during the week-long US military offensive code-named 'Operation Matador' in the al-Qaim area 350 kilometres (280 miles) west of Baghdad, in the Sunni al-Anbar province. The large-scale offensive was launched to flush insurgents out of the area and disrupt their supply routes to Syria, ended yesterday, the military announced AFP PHOTO/ALI KAMAR (Photo credit should read ALI KAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)


On May 7, U.S. forces in western Iraq began a major offensive dubbed "Operation Matador" against jihadist insurgents. Led by elements of the 2nd Marine Division, the operation centers on northwestern Al Anbar province and seeks to deny insurgents — especially Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda-linked militant group — a safe haven in the area. With al-Zarqawi's lieutenants captured and his plans compromised, the operation puts significant pressure on jihadist militants in Iraq.

A U.S. offensive takes aim at smuggling lines from Syria....

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