U.S. and Iraqi forces are continuing for a second day a sweep in northern Iraq to hunt for weapons and suspected insurgents.
The second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, said on Friday in Baghdad that the forces taking part in the operation are facing virtually no resistance.
Some 15-hundred helicopter-borne U.S. and Iraqi troops descended on an area northeast of Samarra Thursday. They captured dozens of suspected insurgents and uncovered six weapons caches. No casualties have been reported.
The U.S. military says the operation is the biggest air assault in Iraq since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion three years ago.
General Chiarelli also said Iraqi security forces have made significant progress over the past 11 months. He said he believes the Iraqi army will take security control of 75 percent of Iraq within the next several months.
In other developments, Iraq's political leadership is meeting today in an effort to move negotiations forward on forming a unity government.