Forces Struggle to Push Al-Qaida from Iraq Iraqi officials have sent more military equipment to the northern city of Mosul to help stabilize the area. Meanwhile, five more U.S. soldiers were killed there Monday. Can anything get al-Qaida out of the city?
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Forces Struggle to Push Al-Qaida from Iraq

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Forces Struggle to Push Al-Qaida from Iraq

Forces Struggle to Push Al-Qaida from Iraq

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

I'm Madeleine Brand.

Coming up, a crisis for Iraqi refugees, especially women targeted by Islamic militants in Iraq.

CHADWICK: First, the war in that country was part of President Bush's State of the Union speech last night. There is progress, the president told Congress.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.

(Soundbite of applause)

CHADWICK: U.S. and Iraqi officials say al-Qaida's on the run to places like the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Hours before the president's speech, five U.S. troops were killed there after a roadside bomb blast and a gun battle, and today a suicide attack on a U.S. convoy killed an Iraqi civilian and injured more than a dozen others. Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times joins us from Baghdad.

Ned, what have Iraqi officials been saying about their plans for Mosul?

Mr. NED PARKER (Los Angeles Times): Prime Minister Maliki and others say that many of the - especially in the last six months, many of the fighters who have been pushed out of Baghdad, Anbar province and Diyala province have fled up to Mosul, where they're hoping to play upon tensions between Arabs and Kurds and rely upon a large number of retired military officers who live in the city. So the Iraqi forces - essentially there have been additional tanks brought up by the Iraqi government as well as some helicopters in a plan to unify the command of the Iraqi police and army and to have them in neighborhoods at all times. The defense minister criticized the Iraqi police and army in Mosul for essentially clearing out from the streets at night and ceding areas to the insurgency.

CHADWICK: In the Los Angeles Times today, you called Mosul the last urban center for al-Qaida in all of Iraq. What is the U.S. troop presence there, and how much of a role are U.S. forces going to play in this effort to now confront al-Qaida there?

Mr. PARKER: Well, there are about 3,000 U.S. troops in the area around Mosul. There are no plans to bring additional U.S. troops up to Mosul right now. Many U.S. forces that are in the northern region are busy in Diyala province trying to clear it of al-Qaida influence. But they say they are involved in the fighting in Mosul. There's no change to their operations, but I think they're seeing what the Iraqis will do.

CHADWICK: Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times reporting from Baghdad. Ned, thank you.

Mr. PARKER: Thanks for having me.

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