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Military official: Coalition prepares to attack Republican Guard

From Chris Plante

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon is collecting new intelligence information ahead of a new bombing campaign by coalition forces against Iraq's Republican Guard surrounding Baghdad, a senior U.S. military official told CNN.

Calling it the "calm before the storm," the official said the military is taking advantage of clear weather -- following a midweek sandstorm -- to update information on Iraqi troop placement.

The official said the onslaught against the Republican Guard -- to start in the next few days -- will include Air Force and Navy warplanes, as well as Army and Marine Corps attack helicopters.

The goal will be to pick apart the Guard's armor and strike its leadership in the field, the official said.

Republican Guard troops ring Iraq's capital:

• The Hammurabi Division is north and east of Baghdad

• The Medina Division is south of Baghdad

• The Baghdad/Al-Nida Division is south and east of Baghdad in the direction of Al Kut.

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