A senior U.S. military commander says the level of violence in Baghdad has fallen during August and that U.S.-led and Iraqi forces captured more than 100 known and suspected al-Qaida terrorists this week.
Major General William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad Tuesday that the new Iraqi government has formulated a very effective plan aimed at stopping violence.
He said Iraqi security forces have made what he calls an incredible leap forward since the same time last year. Caldwell said about 60 percent of the Iraqi population is relatively secure with the major challenge being in the provinces around Baghdad.
Also in Baghdad Tuesday, an Iraqi Kurd testified at the second trial of ousted President Saddam Hussein. The witness described an aerial poison gas attack on his village that he says blinded people.
Saddam is charged with genocide in a 1987-1988 military operation against Iraqi Kurds that prosecutors say killed 180,000 people.
One of Saddam's co-defendants testified Tuesday that the operation was aimed at Iranian troops and Kurdish rebels.
Saddam is still waiting for the verdict from his first trial on charges of ordering the deaths of about 150 Shi'ite villagers after a 1982 assassination attempt. If convicted, he could be executed. That verdict is expected on October 16.