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UN Peacekeepers Launch Offensive in Eastern Congo

The United Nations says peacekeepers have launched a major military operation in eastern Congo, where militiamen killed nine peacekeepers last month.

U.N. officials said Friday at least 500 peacekeepers are involved in the operation in Congo's troubled northeastern Ituri region.

A U.N. military source told Reuters news agency the troops are trying to catch the militiamen, believed to be ethnic Lendu fighters, who are suspected of ambushing the Bangladeshi peacekeepers.

Earlier this month, U.N. soldiers killed at least 50 militiamen in Ituri province. That battle was the most serious involving the U.N. Congo mission since it began deploying in 1999.

The United Nations has been under fire for failing to stop ongoing ethnic violence in Ituri. This month, the mission pledged to step up its operations.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, Reueters.