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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

U.S. Launches New Operation in Iraq

Aired August 11, 2003 - 19:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. troops launched a new operation in Iraq today aimed at preventing anti-American attacks. An Arabic language TV network aired a videotape over the weekend showing militants claiming responsibility for a lot of those attacks. And last night, another U.S. soldier was killed. A total of 125 Americans have died since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat was over. Fifty-seven of those deaths have been attributed to hostile action.
But as Harris Whitbeck reports, Iraqis in the streets are more worried with their own daily security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A suspected carjacker is hustled into a waiting police car outside Baghdad's main hospital. Emergency rooms are filled with victims of muggings and stabbings. At a nearby police station, suspected criminals file in and out.

Common crime is on the rise here, an ugly side effect to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

"Crime was much less prevalent before," he says, "because we had patrols on the streets and the public could use telephones to report crimes."

Businessman Farid Segman (ph) has suffered the change firsthand. Within a two-week period, his car was stolen at gunpoint and he was robbed by armed men who stormed into his house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put this on my head. Then this my nightshirt. They were hitting me. And this napkins, they put it...

WHITBECK: These days, shopkeepers say they shutter their stores before darkness brings anarchy.

"There is no safety. There is no stability," he says. "There is crime and there is murder. It is chaos to an unnatural degree."

While the Iraqi police now have more than 5,000 officers in the streets of the capital, few feel that is enough.

(on camera): Coalition officials say more help is on the way. They say they hope to train close to 5,000 more police officers in the coming months to deal with a reality few here thought they would ever have to cope with.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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