Iraqi PM Vows Offensive Against Al-Qaida

(VOA) Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki gestures as he announces during a press conference in Karbala, Iraq that the government is sending troops to Mosul. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says Iraqi forces will mount a major offensive against al-Qaida elements in the northern city of Mosul.

He says the fight there will be "decisive," with the help of Mosul’s population. An Interior Ministry spokesman says an extra 3,000 police are being sent to the city. Bombings in Mosul this week killed nearly 40 people and wounded more than 200.

On the political front, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee urged Iraq’s leaders on Friday to reach compromise.

Democrat Jack Reed, who just returned from a trip to Iraq, said the security gains resulting from President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq could erode without progress toward political reconciliation.

In other news, a U.S. television network says Iraq’s Saddam Hussein told his American interrogator he did not think the United States would invade Iraq.

The CBS network quotes George Piro, the FBI agent who questioned Saddam, as saying the late Iraqi leader claimed he allowed the world to believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to prevent Iran from invading his country.