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New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico A8 THE NEW MEXICAN Sunday October 2 2005 WAR IN IRAQ Troops hunt for alQaida near Syria By Mohammed Barakat The Associated Press QAIM Iraq About troops backed by attack helicopters and warplanes swept into a village near the Syrian border Saturday in an offensive aimed at rooting out alQaida militants and stem ming violence ahead of a crucial vote on a new constitution The offensive named Opera tion Iron Fist was launched by a force of Marines soldiers and sailors aircraft firing missiles struck houses and cars sending palls of smoke into the sky as the forces moved into Sadah according to residents contacted by The Associated Press Marines and insurgents clashed in the streets they said The military said al Qaida in Iraq the countrys most fearsome militant group behind a wave of suicide bomb ings had taken control of Sadah and foreign fighters were using it as a way station as they enter from Syria to join the insur gency The assault was the fourth large offensive in the bor der area since May But the militants who run rampant in large parts of western Iraq have proven difficult to put down moving back into towns after the assaults are over and the bulk of troops withdraw AlQaida and other Sunni led insurgents have stepped up their campaign of violence kill ing at least 205 people this week in an attempt to wreck the Oct 15 the constitu tion a vital step in Iraqs politi cal process Iraqs Sunni Arab minority which ruled under Saddam Hussein but lost power after his ouster opposes the draft charter fearing it will split Iraq and allow Shiite and Kurdish domination military deaths in Iraq As of Saturday at least members of the military have died since the beginning of the i raq wa r i n Ma rch 2003 according to an Associ ated Press At least died as a result of hostile action according to the militarys numbers The figures include five military civilians HURRICANE KATRINA Bourbon Street back in the flow By Dan Sewell The Associated Press NEW ORLEANS Cajun music live and lively drifts onto Bourbon Street where handfuls of people sip from tal mixed drinks or supersized cups of beer as they stroll Dozens of people throng the dance floor at Razzoos Bar and Patio singing along to We Are Family A barker urges passersby to take a look inside at nude dancers in Big Daddys and in the Bourbon Street StripTease store Dale Juneau sells thong underwear to a young woman He says the adult clothing and toy store has been busy since it reopened more than a week ago particularly with sales to mili tary and relief workers ready to return from their exhaust ing duty with something for their wives and girlfriends back home Bourbon Street is Bourbon he says Thats why they come here to party to let their hair Each night theres a little more beat to the bawdy heart of New Orleans the stretch of bars restaurants strip clubs and stores specializing in Tshirts with Xrated messages that is one of the citys strongest tour ist lures For now its visited by locals who have returned from evacuations and outoftowners who came to rebuild after Hur ricane Katrina a project that remains staggering in scope a month later Fewer than half the busi nesses on the strip have reopened but by Friday night there were half a dozen live bands in bars and nearly as many open strip clubs If such merrymaking seems incongruous in a city hit by one of the nations woist natural disasters one that took hun dreds of lives those who are trying to kickstart a revival wel come any signs of comeback When you see some activity thats a sign of said attorney Kim Boyle a member of the Bring New Orleans Back commission announced Friday by Mayor Ray Nagin We cant walk around look ing sad and being in the dol drums Boyle said While New Orleans has many other attractions much of the nation thinks first of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street in particular said John Rodrigue a history professor at Louisiana State University Its significant both for the real importance of having some businesses open and also for the symbolic Rodrigue said Built on higher ground than most of the city the French Quarter was spared the worst of Katrina mostly suffering scat tered wind and water damage The popular Red Fish Grill reopened Friday at noon start ing with hamburgers It also offered ribeye streaks and some namesake hickorygrilled farmraised redfish on its abbreviated dinner menu before closing for the night at 6 Four young women from the West Bank area beers in hand and dressed to party hooted and waved at soldiers in Hum vees driving up Bourbon Can you tell weve been cooped up for a long time asked Tracy Knight Even piles of garbage and blasts of breathstopping stench along parts of the street didnt stop them It smells worse than Mardi said Nicole Todd But its Friday night girls night They said we wouldnt come back but were Knight added We never stop working for you flegularretail price less mailin rebate New 2year 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