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US and Iraqi forces urged to respect rights in new anti-insurgency raids

[JURIST] In the wake of the latest campaign to track down insurgents in Baghdad, human rights groups have called on Iraqi and US forces to respect humanitarian law when raiding houses in search of suspects. The campaign, announced on May 26 and termed Operation Lightning [overview], is designed to close off exits from the city and allow security forces to seek out foreign and domestic militants. Some 40,000 soldiers are said to be involved. A spokesperson for Amnesty International [advocacy website] has urged the troops to avoid causing physical or psychological damage to innocent families caught in the middle of the raids, but US Army officials have stressed that US and Iraqi forces have a right to hunt down insurgents and say that the Iraqi people have been given early warning that such raids would be occurring. Earlier this week a Sunni Muslim leader in Baghdad was taken into custody with his sons and had his house ransacked by US forces, only to be released afterwards after the US military admitted to a "mistake" [JURIST report]. IRIN has more.

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