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Iraq, U.S., hit al-Qaida in Iraq

BAQUBA, Iraq, July 29 (UPI) -- U.S. and Iraqi forces were on the move Tuesday in Diyala province against al-Qaida in Iraq and local Shiite fighters, Iraqi military officials said.

The operation dubbed Omens of Prosperity began with security forces surrounding the provincial capital, Baquba, and then launching a series of raids on specific target, commanders told CNN.

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Diyala was the scene of a recent wave of suicide bombings aimed at the Iraqi army and at civilian councils that work with the U.S. military.

The offensive in Diyala comes as the annual Shia Imam Musa al-Kadim festival nears its conclusion. Hundreds of pilgrims have been making their way to the shrine in the northern suburbs of Baghdad under tight security.

The BBC said hundreds of police are monitoring the pilgrims as they stream into the area on foot, which makes them particularly vulnerable to bombers mixing into their ranks.

Female pilgrims are receiving extra scrutiny since women carried out several recent suicide bombings.

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