U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured more than 30 suspected insurgents in the first day of what the U.S. military says is the largest air assault since the early weeks of the war.
U.S. defense officials say at least six major weapons caches were found Thursday in operations near the town of Samarra, about 100 kilometers north of Baghdad. A military spokesman Major Tom Bryant says troops uncovered materials and training manuals for making the insurgency's deadliest weapon -- roadside bombs.
The spokesman also says the assault brought U.S.-Iraqi military cooperation to a new level, noting about half of the 15-hundred troops involved are Iraqi.
He says Iraqi soldiers performed the same roles as U.S. troops in the operation, which involved ground forces securing areas after flying in on U.S. helicopters.
There is no immediate word on casualties.
The Pentagon says the operation is expected to continue for several more days. The target area is northeast of Samarra, where insurgents destroyed a famous Shi'ite mosque last month. The incident triggered days of sectarian violence that left hundreds dead.
Also Thursday, Iraq's new parliament was sworn in in Baghdad.
The long-delayed inaugural session lasted less than an hour. Lawmakers have yet to agree on the key posts of speaker and prime minister, and there is no sign of progress in talks aimed at breaking the impasse.
In other news, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that includes 68-billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.