The US military said on Tuesday that it launched a massive assault on the Al-Qaeda north of Baghdad, involving around 10,000 US-Iraqi troops.
The soldiers, backed by aircraft and armoured vehicles, launched the offensive dubbed 'Operation Arrowhead Ripper' to eliminate Al-Qaeda militants operating in and around Baquba, some 65 km northeast of here, the military said in a statement.
The US troops battled the insurgents in the area during night and killed 22 militants, it added.
Baquba, capital of volatile Diyala province, is the stronghold of Al-Qaeda militants.
"The end state is to destroy the Al-Qaeda influences in this province and eliminate their threat against the people," said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, Deputy Commanding General, operations, 25th Infantry Division.
"That is the number one, bottom-line, up-front, in-your-face, task and purpose," the statement quoted him as saying.