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Petraeus Sees Improvements, Peril in Iraq

Gen. David Petraeus gives his first press conference since taking over command of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Gen. David Petraeus gives his first press conference since taking over command of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Gen. David Petraeus gives his first news conference since assuming command of U.S. forces in Iraq. He says insurgents are increasing "sensational attacks" in an effort to thwart U.S. and Iraqi efforts to restore order in Baghdad.

Petraeus says the joint Iraqi-U.S. security crackdown, called Operation Enforcing the Law, is making progress despite a recent increase in insurgent attacks.

"Regrettably, some of these groups are still carrying out their barbaric acts," he says. "In fact, we believe that they have sought to intensify their sensational attacks in recent weeks to provoke renewed sectarian violence and derail [the operation] before it can be fully implemented."

As the increase in U.S. troop deployments continues, Petraeus says it's too soon to recommend that the surge go past the summer. The New York Times reported Thursday that his deputy, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, recommended that heightened troop levels be maintained through February 2008.

Petraeus says joint Iraqi-U.S. efforts will be increasing, especially in Baghdad neighborhoods, in a bid to increase security and essential services such as electricity.

He also calls on Iraqi leaders to rise above personal and sectarian agendas to grapple with these issues in the months ahead.

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