More than 40,000 Iraqi soldiers are to be deployed in Baghdad in a massive operation to hunt down insurgents, the Iraqi defense minister has announced.
Saadoun al-Dulaimi said the force would include troops from the interior and defence ministries.
Correspondents say it would be by far the largest operation against insurgents in Baghdad by Iraqi forces.
Elsewhere in the Iraqi capital, seven people were killed in two attacks – a car bombing and a shooting.
Insurgent attacks on US, Iraqi government and civilian targets have killed about 600 people in May.
Mr Dulaimi said the capital would be split into seven areas of operation, and warned that that security measures would be far more strict that had been seen before.
“We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing. No-one will be able to penetrate this blockade,” Mr Dulaimi said.
He said this would be the first phase of a security crackdown that could eventually cover the whole country.
Interior Minister Baqir Solagh said: “These operations will aim to turn the government’s role [in dealing with the insurgency] from defensive to offensive.”
There was no indication of when the operation would start.
Attack on patrol
The two attacks in Baghdad included a car bomb which targeted a police patrol, killing three Iraqis.
At least two others were injured in the blast, which occurred as people were travelling to work.
In the second attack, a university lecturer and three passengers in his car were killed in a drive-by shooting in the capital’s southern Aalam district.
In a separate incident, a US military convoy was attacked in central Baghdad. One vehicle caught fire but details of casualties are not known.
An Iraqi child was also killed during fighting between US forces and insurgents in the north-western city of Talafar, the US military said.
“When multinational forces engaged the terrorists, the terrorists used Iraqi children as shields. One child was killed as a result of their action,” the US military said in a statement, without specifying who killed the child nor how it had died.
And in Qadissiya, in southern Baghdad, police said a member of the Shia Muslim Dawa party was found dead with his throat slit.