In January 2007, the commander of Multi National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I), General Odierno, ordered a full scale offensive to dislodge al Qaida from what one US commander dubbed "the most dangerous street in Iraq".
On the January 9, 2007, the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment linked up with Iraqi forces on the north end of Haifa street and began occupying buildings and arresting suspects. At 7.00am hundreds of insurgents started to shoot from the high-rises (the Holland Apartments) at the Americans. Heavy incoming fire pinned down the American soldiers trapping them on a rooftop for at least two hours. Some soldiers who were not on the rooftop couldn't move on the street because of insurgent sniper and machine-gun fire. The fighting became so intense that U.S. Apache helicopters, F-15s, more than a dozen Iraqi gun trucks, Stryker combat vehicles and about 1,000 Iraqi Army soldiers were called in.
The U.S. and Iraqi troops battled insurgents in the heart of Baghdad in some of the fiercest fighting the Iraqi capital had seen in months since Operation Together Forward. U.S. helicopters fired Hellfire missiles at insurgent positions while fighter jets provided additional cover. Thunderous explosions were heard through out Baghdad from U.S. missile and insurgent mortar and rocket-propelled grenade fire. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were having running battles with insurgents up and down Haifa Street. The fighting lasted for over three days. By the end of the battle some 20 Iraqi Army soldiers and 103 insurgents were reported dead.
Within 24 hours of the start of the fight in Haifa Street, Gen. Razzak Hamza, a Sunni Iraqi Army commander of the Fifth Brigade, Sixth Iraqi Army Division, was relieved of duty by the Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He was promptly replaced by a Shiite commander. It was reported that the prime minister blamed Hamza for the violence on Haifa Street, and said he wasn’t doing enough to stop it. It was actually believed that the meddling from the prime minister's office was driven by sectarian motives, in part because Razzak had been putting pressure on the Shiite militias. The interference by the Maliki administration raised questions about whether government leaders are truly willing to put Iraq’s sectarian differences aside.
Also the operation in Haifa Street gave a glimpse of what could await the 17,500 troops heading for Baghdad. Just a week later there were already reports that American military planners on the ground were arguing with their Iraqi counterparts about the plans for the coming security operation slated for Baghdad. This was one of the few battles where the insurgents and the coalition troops have fought each other 'face-to-face'.