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Today’s Headlines Daily E-Mail – Sign Up: “American hopes that the Falluja offensive would deal a mortal blow to Al Qaeda were thwarted when the leaders who fled the city moved elsewhere, and resumed the Islamic militants’ trademark pattern of suicide bombings and assassinations at a higher intensity than before. Since Falluja, Qaeda groups have shown a remarkable resilience in the face of relentless pursuit by the American forces, regrouping time and again after American offensives. Even Falluja has not escaped. American commanders said this week that, more than 30 months after the city was recaptured, Qaeda groups have reinfiltrated the city, mounting suicide bombing attacks, assassinating police and city council leaders and forcing a fresh American and Iraqi offensive this month that has been aimed at capturing or killing the Qaeda fighters.
After more than three years of saying publicly that they had all the troops they needed for the war here, American commanders have begun acknowledging in the past year that the ability of the Qaeda groups to establish new strongholds after old ones are destroyed — and to regenerate their leadership — has owed much to the fact that American manpower has been severely stretched.
But with all the additional Army brigades ordered into the war by Mr. Bush now in the field, along with additional Marine units, the commanders here now have more firepower than they have had at any time since the American invasion in 2003. With that, the American generals face what they have acknowledged to be the best, and possibly last, chance to persuade critics in Congress and a disillusioned American public that persisting in Iraq is worthwhile.”


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