5 Nov. Associated Press report - U.S. Launches Major Offensive in Iraq. Excerpt follows:

"The American military launched a major offensive near the Syrian border on Saturday aimed at destroying al-Qaida in Iraq's ability to smuggle in foreign fighters, money and equipment..."

"The offensive of about 2,500 Marines, soldiers and sailors in the town of Husaybah will remove insurgents from the western province of Anbar ahead of Iraq's parliamentary election on Dec. 15, the military said. An unspecified number of Iraqi forces were taking part."

"The offensive is part of a larger ongoing U.S. military operation designed to deny al-Qaida in Iraq the ability to operate in the Euphrates River valley, which stretches through Anbar province, and to establish a joint permanent security presence along the Syrian border."

"... marks the first large-scale employment of multiple battalion-sized units of Iraqi army forces in combined operations with coalition forces in the last year..."