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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein



U.S., Iraqi troops kill 30 militants

By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. and Iraqi troops battled Sunni insurgents hiding in high-rise buildings on Haifa Street in the heart of Baghdad Wednesday, with snipers on roofs taking aim at gunmen in open windows as Apache attack helicopters hovered overhead.

Iraq said 30 militants were killed and 27 captured.

New details also emerged about the downing of a private U.S. security company helicopter on Tuesday, with U.S. and Iraqi officials saying four of five Americans who died in the incident were shot execution-style. Violence was unrelenting in Iraq on Wednesday, with at least 69 people killed or found dead, including 33 tortured bodies found in separate locations in Baghdad.

With President Bush pushing a controversial plan to increase troops strength in Iraq, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the latest joint raid was aimed at clearing the Haifa Street area of "terrorists and outlaws" targeting residents. He promised such operations would continue as U.S. and Iraqi troops prepare for a broader security crackdown to stanch the sectarian bloodletting that has turned Baghdad into a battlefield.

At 5 a.m. Wednesday, Iraqi army and American troops moved into the Sunni stronghold to launch targeted raids in a third bid this month to clear the neighborhood of militants. Armored vehicles massed along Haifa Street, where a median with trees separates four lanes of traffic lined by tall apartment houses built by Saddam Hussein for loyalists and dissidents from other Arab countries, mainly Syria.

The U.S.-Iraqi force faced fierce resistance from insurgents using hand-grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms from the high-rises, the American military said. The explosions were so loud they could be heard across the capital. Black smoke rose from the area, located on the west bank of the Tigris River about a mile north of the Green Zone, site of the U.S. and British embassies as well as the Iraqi government headquarters.

Didn't the US kill a bunch of people there last week?

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