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(And other news from the first four days of March in Iraq)
A new phase in the Baghdad security plan begins:
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers entered the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City on Sunday in the first major push into the area since an American-led security sweep began last month around Baghdad.Perhaps unintentionally the AP headline slights the Iraqi troops involved in the joint effort.
Soldiers conducted house-to-house searches, but met no resistance in a district firmly in the hands of the Mahdi Army militia led by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said Lt. Col. David Oclander.
The move into Sadr City came following negotiations with political leaders in the neighborhood.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman, told Al-Arabiya television U.S. officials have had daily dialogue with community leaders in Sadr City.
The Chicago Tribune offers a more complete account:
U.S. troops to live in Sadr CityMNF-I has deeper background:
Soldiers will join Iraqi forces inside militia stronghold
By Liz Sly
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published March 4, 2007
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military has reached an agreement with representatives of the Shiite community in Baghdad's Sadr City enclave that will allow American forces to maintain a permanent presence in the militia stronghold for the first time since 2004, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Saturday.
Under the agreement, the U.S. will open one of the joint security stations that are a prominent feature of the new Baghdad security plan, with American soldiers living alongside Iraqi forces in a police station just inside the impoverished neighborhood, said Rahim al-Daraji, one of Sadr City's two mayors.
New plan for greater securitySadr himself has allegedly responded through "associates" from his unknown hiding place (perhaps deep in Iran):
By Sgt. Mike Pryor
2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO
BAGHDAD – Coalition and Iraqi security forces are bringing new ideas into the ongoing operation to secure Baghdad.
Sadr City is being included in negotiations through efforts on all sides. Commanders from the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, and 2nd Brigade Combat, 82nd Airborne Division met with a civic leader of Sadr City, Raheem Al Darraji, on March 1 in order to discuss upcoming security plans for Sadr City and the infusion of national level Iraqi security forces. The meeting took place at a police station in Sadr City that will soon become the area’s first Joint Security Station, manned 24 hours-a-day by all elements of the security forces including U.S. forces.
“It was a very positive meeting,” said Col. Don Farris of Lone Star, Texas, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., “They’ve shown they are willing to reach out to the government of Iraq and coalition forces.”
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division is the first of several BCTs that will flow into Baghdad in the coming months as part of the troop surge to combat sectarian violence. They are already having an impact in the key area of Sadr City.
Farris’ unit has been establishing small bases called combat outposts on the edges of Sadr City since early last month, positioning themselves for a significantly increased presence in the densely populated six square mile area. That move, which at one time would have been politically unthinkable for the Iraqi government, is now becoming a reality.
This time rather than barricade them off, it appears that leaders in Sadr City are ready to work with coalition forces when they come.
Weary of a cycle of violence and militia activities, as well as al-Qaeda attacks in the area, Mr. Raheem Al Darraji stressed again and again during the meeting that he welcomed the presence of Iraqi and U.S. forces, and the help they could provide his people.
“We want you here sooner, rather than later,” Al Darraji said. Initial reports indicate the overall Baghdad Security Plan – which has placed thousands of additional troops on the streets of the Iraqi capital – has achieved reduced levels of violence thus far.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of the 8th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division, a joint partner said there is no reason why the successes of the security plan in other parts of Baghdad can’t be replicated in Sadr City. “We will do the same as we did in Adhamiyah. It is one nation and no one is above the law,” Kareem said.
Farris also stressed that point. The Iraqi Government and its coalition partners have the authority to go after criminals, extremists, and insurgents wherever they are located.
“There are no sanctuaries, anywhere,” Farris said.
Sadr, in a statement issued by associates, did not threaten force against the troops, but he rejected U.S. and Iraqi officials' statements in the last week that negotiations had cleared the way for the establishment of the joint security station in Sadr City.Meanwhile,
Sadr's words carry huge weight in Sadr City, a teeming poverty-stricken area in northeast Baghdad, and his opposition to the presence of American soldiers could throw a wrench into plans to set up the station.
Just hours before Sadr's office issued its statement, dozens of civic leaders in Sadr City met to discuss the security plan. They said they would cooperate with it but also issued a written statement urging U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Failing that, they said, U.S. forces should "come into Islam and declare publicly taking Islam as their religion."
Iraq's prime minister said Saturday he will shuffle his Cabinet within two weeks and pursue criminal charges against political figures linked to extremists as a sign of his government's resolve to restore stability during the U.S.-led security crackdown here.
Al-Maliki has been under pressure from the U.S. to bring order into his divided government of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds since it took office last May. Rumors of Cabinet changes have surfaced before, only to disappear because of pressure from coalition members seeking to keep power.
Nevertheless, al-Maliki said there would be a Cabinet reshuffle "either this week or next."
The prime minister did not say how many Cabinet members would be replaced. Some officials said about nine would lose their jobs, including all six members loyal to radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an al-Maliki ally.
For more of what "the surge" has brought about, the same story offers a few details of next Saturday's planned regional security conference in Baghdad. Representatives from all Iraq's neighboring states, along with the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, are expected to attend.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria, have agreed to join U.S. and British representatives to discuss the Iraqi security crisis at a regional conference March 10 in Baghdad, the government said Wednesday.From China:
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he will be issuing formal invitations shortly to the neighboring countries and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China -- to send deputy foreign ministers or senior officials to the meeting.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi government formally invited UN Security Council's five permanent members of the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France to take part in the Baghdad meeting, along with Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.Iranian news:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that countries invited to the Baghdad meeting of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, as well as the US and other UN Security Council permanent members plus Egypt and Bahrain, will attend the regional and international meeting on Iraq.But while Iran may attend, the Jerusalem Post reports:
Maliki said at a press conference that despite ongoing insecurity, all those invited are eager to attend the meeting.
He said the meeting will be held to discuss issues related to Iraq and ways of cooperation to end tension and fight terrorism in Iraq.
"Meeting with Americans on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference is not on the agenda of Iran, for the time being," said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, in his weekly news briefing.Future plans, from Turkey:
Sources added that if the initial meeting goes well, a second meeting at the foreign ministerial level is planned for April. Turkish diplomatic sources said that there will be several alternatives. "One is to meet in Cairo with the participation of the foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbors," said one. "Another alternative is to meet in Istanbul with the participation of UN permanent Security Council members and G8 countries' foreign ministers. The third alternative is to meet in Cairo, and then a third meeting will be in Istanbul."
Back in the United States, congress appears willing to ignore the situation for a while, after Jack Murtha's "slow bleed strategy" to destroy the U.S. Army in Iraq failed to gain support from beyond the extremist fringe. While it may encourage the enemy, this effort probably won't go far either:
Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, is drafting an amendment that would allow financing only to protect American troops in Iraq pending a full withdrawal under a set timetable.Ms Lee was the "lone dissenting vote in Congress against the resolution authorizing the president to use force to respond to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001."
Assuming the supplemental bill is unsatisfactory to the caucus, war opponents are discussing whether to threaten to vote against it when it comes to a vote in the House floor in mid-March, unless the House leadership also permits a vote on the amendment from Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee said her goal was to shift the discussion to a “fully funded withdrawal” from “cutting off funding.”
“There’s a distinction between cutting off funding and using the funding to begin a speedy and secure withdrawal within a specific timeframe,” she said.
Other news from Iraq
Thursday's battle in the village of Amiriya, just south of Fallujah, highlights the ongoing battle between the Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda in Anbar province. At least 50 al-Qaeda were killed and 80 captured in the largest battles between al-Qaeda and Iraqi police, Army and the Anbar Salvation Council in Anbar province this year.Read it all. Bill says (via email) "The media is barely scratching the surface on what is going on in Anbar."
But the full story, according to an American military officer and an American intelligence source, is that al-Qaeda in Iraq, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq, assembled several hundred fighters to attack a prominent leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the grouping of local tribes and Baathists, and former insurgents who now oppose al-Qaeda in Iraqi. The leader of the Anbar Salvation Council was to attend the funeral of one of those killed in last week's suicide bombing in Habbaniyah.
He's right - although the New York Times did recently "discover" the Anbar Salvation Council.
Considering the progress made, it's worth remembering that up to now only one of the five American "surge" brigades has been operating in Baghdad. That's about to change:
BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the Fort Riley based 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division completed their movement into Iraq this week. The arrival of this Brigade from Kuwait will assist Iraqi Security Forces in stemming sectarian violence and protecting its citizens.Although technically part of "the surge", the brigade is actually deploying as scheduled last year.
The brigade includes approximately 3,100 Soldiers.
Their mission will be to assist Iraqi Security Forces to clear, control and retain key areas of the capital city in order to reduce violence and to set the conditions for a transition to full Iraqi control of security in the city. This Brigade closed in country Feb.
“The brigade will play an important role in increasing the amount of pressure applied to insurgent groups conducting violent activity in Baghdad,” said Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. “The additional Soldiers will also allow the Iraqi’s to train their security forces to a level that will enable them to maintain security. It will allow their government to continue to mature.”
Even more news follows. Given the sheer volume, we'll limit ourselves to just a fraction of reports from the last four days.
TIKRIT, Iraq – Soldiers from Task Force 1-319 and the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division detained more than 50 insurgents during three days of operations focused on terrorist cells in Abu Ajeel, Wynot, and Owja near Tikrit in Salah ad Din.Iraqi Forces capture suspected weapons smuggler in Basra
Paratroopers from Task Force Loyalty’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, detained more than 40 personnel in the Abu Ajeel area with assistance from an Iraqi Emergency Services Unit, and the Iraqi army. The operation disrupted an Improvised Explosive Device Cell that has been operating in the area as well as delivering an insurgent cell leader who has been spearheading attacks against coalition and Iraqi security forces in recent months.
Soldiers from Task Force Loyalty’s Battery B detained more than 10 insurgents involved with financing and executing attacks on coalition forces in the towns of Wynot and Owja.
During the raids, members of Battery B engaged numerous insurgents killing three who were poised to conduct a deadly roadside ambush on coalition forces during the operation.
“The combined efforts of the Iraqi security forces, Task Force Loyalty, and the Iraqi citizens have achieved improved security not only in Abu Ajeel, Wynot and Owja, but throughout Tikrit as well,” Lt. Col. Barry Di Ruzza, commander, Task Ford Loyalty. “The key to our success has been the outstanding [information from local citizens], derived jointly by the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, and our intelligence section. This cooperation is what enabled us to execute simultaneous Intel-driven operations and take a significant positive step toward increased security for these local citizens.”
Baghdad – Special Iraqi Army Forces captured an alleged weapons smuggler and trafficker during operations with Coalition advisers Mar. 4 in Basra.AIR STRIKE LEADS TO HOSTAGE RESCUE; WEAPONS CACHE UNCOVERED
The suspect reportedly funnels weapons and improvised explosive devices to rogue Jaysh Al Mahdi elements for use in attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces.
Iraqi forces captured the alleged trafficker without incident. The operation, against a suspected rogue JAM member, demonstrates that Iraqi forces operate at will throughout Iraq to combat criminal and violent elements undermining the security of Iraq.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ – An assessment performed by Coalition Forces following an air strike in Arab Jabour on Saturday led to the rescue of four Iraqi citizens and the uncovering of a terrorist weapons cache today.March 3:
Four Iraqi citizens were liberated from a building near the site of yesterday’s air strike. According to one of the liberated hostages, the terrorists holding them captive fled immediately after the air strike. All four hostages were treated on site for various injuries. One of the hostages said he had been held captive for 50 days.
At the site of the air strike, Ground forces also found remnants of an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun known as a DShK and multiple rocket propelled grenades and grenade launchers. Additionally, a DShK Tripod was found dug in the ground along the Tigris River with spent ammunition cartridges.
Coalition Forces called in the air strike yesterday after they began receiving small arms fire from several armed men across the Tigris River and were unable to safely subdue enemy fire.
Coalition Forces used two precision guided bombs in the strike destroying a small structure and killing seven terrorists hiding inside. A large secondary explosion was noted after the initial bombs were dropped on the target, indicating the presence of explosive material within the structure.
TORTIA, Iraq – Following a massive weapons cache find Feb. 26 near the village of Maalef, Iraqi Army soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division, supported by 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment troops discovered more illegal weapons, this time near the village of Tortia March 1.NINE SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED DURING RAID NORTH OF TAJI; TWO BELIEVED TO BE FOREIGN FIGHTER FACILITATORS
The cache, located in the vicinity of historical caches, was found inside two large freezers and four large barrels and contained the following:
• Approximately 300 rounds of assorted small arms ammunition
• 18 rockets
• 34 120mm mortar rounds, to include white phosphorous and high explosive
• 26 cans of 14.5 mm ammunition
• 12 cans of fuzes
• 95 PG-7 rocket-propelled grenades
• 26 OG-7 grenades
• 103 Chinese MP6 projectile fuzes
• Five rocket-propelled grenade launchers
• Two 60mm mortar tubes
• 30 60mm high-explosive rounds
• 19 60mm smoke rounds
• One bucket of approximately six TNT blocks
• Multiple blasting caps, bags of propellant, and several pieces of communication gear.
“This is another good example of the 2IAD, working together with the 5-82 FA, taking the fight to the enemy by denying them weapons and battle space,” said Sgt. 1st Class Luis Perez, liaison officer to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division for 5-82 FA.
Coalition forces explosive ordnance disposal teams were on site conducting an assessment of the find and preparing the items for transportation and eventual reduction.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained nine suspected terrorists during a raid Saturday morning targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq, two of whom are believed to be foreign fighter facilitators.Cache found in northern Ghazaliya
Intelligence reports indicated the targeted individuals are linked to the movement of foreign fighters into Baghdad. The targeted terrorists who were captured this morning are also believed to have recently harbored senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders.
“Coalition Forces are working diligently to eliminate foreign terrorists trying to hijack the development and building of a new stable and peaceful Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.
BAGHDAD – Before the sun came up over northern Ghazaliya, a weapons cache was discovered March 2 as the result of a tip from a resident in this western Baghdad district.March 2:
Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment conducted the early morning raid as a part of the new security plan for Baghdad.
“As we were dismounting to conduct the raid, I felt something was wrong with the house adjacent to the target house,” said 2nd Lt. Joel Rhea, the platoon leader conducting the raid.
Finding nothing at the target house, the patrol went to the house next door. While searching that house, Rhea’s troops found two automatic weapons, one pistol, one hand grenade, and a large amount of ammunition. Also found inside the house were roadside bomb-making materials.
The house was occupied by two males who were taken into custody by the Fort Bliss, Texas Soldiers for further questioning.
The discovery of the cache was within eyesight of the Joint Security Station (JSS) located in Ghazaliya. The JSS is an integral part of the new security plan. It is jointly run by the Iraqi and American forces, and has been credited with several success stories in the few shorts weeks it has been operational.
Since the creation of the JSS, violence in the surrounding neighborhoods has been significantly reduced. The capture of two militia members and the confiscation of their weapons should result in level of violence being further reduced.
Rhea said the emergence of helpful tips, like the one which led to the discovery of a cache, from local residents is leading to a greater number of weapons confiscations and suspect detentions.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces killed eight terrorists during a raid Thursday targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq operating in the Salman Pak region.Golden Dragons discover massive cache southwest of Baghdad
Intelligence reports indicate a significant number of individuals involved with the AQIZ terrorist network currently operating in the area. Activities in this area have been linked to a roadside and vehicle-borne explosives network. Terrorists in the area are also believed to be involved in smuggling weapons and facilitating foreign fighters.
During the raid, in which Coalition Forces were repeatedly confronted by small arms and mortar fires, Coalition Forces identified three armed terrorists maneuvering toward them with hostile intent. Ground forces engaged the enemy, killing the three terrorists.
Twenty minutes later, ground forces were again confronted by eight terrorists who began firing upon them. Ground forces returned fire, killing four terrorists. The other four fled the area.
Ground forces also witnessed armed terrorists in a vehicle who were accessing a weapons cache and removing small arms. Coalition Forces engaged, killing one terrorist. Two terrorists were wounded and fled.
Coalition Forces recovered several sniper rifles, AK-47s and rocket-propelled launchers from one of the engagement sites.
“Successful coalition operations continue to disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq operations, restricting freedom of movement and reducing the organization’s manpower pool,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesman.
YUSUFIYAH, Iraq — Multi-National Division – Baghdad troops found and seized a massive weapons cache along one of Baghdad’s main highways Feb. 28.Golden Dragons discover six more caches in operation
Soldiers from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) discovered the cache while conducting a combat patrol along Mulla Fayad Highway, west of Yusufiyah.
The cache consisted of two Sanger missiles with launch tubes, 200 meters of fuse, 1000 12.7mm Dishka rounds, two 122mm rockets, 18 60mm mortar rounds, 80 hand grenades, six rocket stabilizers, 10 120mm mortar tail fins, 100 60mm mortar fuses, five 106mm artillery rounds, one 57mm rocket, one rocket-propelled grenade, one 57mm anti-aircraft round, two RPG-9s, 60 120mm mortars, two unknown mortar rounds, one RPG launcher, one 60mm mortar illumination round, one Dishka heavy machinegun receiver, 20 canisters, 10 [Note: abridged at source]
YUSUFIYAH, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers continue to find weapons caches along Mullah Fayad Highway during an ongoing operation southwest of Baghdad, Feb. 28.Paratroopers find large ammunition cache
As reported earlier, Soldiers from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) found a massive cache along the highway as part of Operation Commando Viper, an operation intended to deny terrorists’ freedom of movement in southwest Baghdad.
After continuing to scour the area, the ‘Golden Dragons’ found an additional six caches along the highway, just west of Yusufiyah, March 1.
The first cache consisted of 12 mortar warheads, 28 tear gas grenades, 150 cassette tapes, a 200 round ammunition drum, 20 feet of wire, 29 mortar charges, three rocket propelled grenade sights, a rifle scope, an AK-47 magazine, four chest-rigged AK-47 kits, four small cloth bags of gun powder, 250 loose 7.62mm rounds, a battery charger, an alternating current adapter, three rifle slings, and various bomb making materials.
The second cache, smaller than the first, included 22 rocket propelled grenade rounds, 300 feet of detention cord, a 62mm high-explosive anti-tank rounds and a 106mm anti-tank round.
The third cache had two unknown aiming tools, three AK-47 magazines (two full and one empty), 100 7.62mm rounds, a box containing 1,000 7.62mm rounds, 11 cloth bags filled with gun powder, 20 feet of time fuse, 20 feet of detonation cord, two RPG-7 rounds, 10 blasting caps, a 57mm warhead, an AK-47, a bottle of unknown liquid, a spotting scope, four cell phones, two mortar sights, an RPG sight, an unknown electronic site, various digital and paper archival equipment, and initiators for improvised explosive devices.
In the fourth cache were four RPG-7 rounds, 22 81mm warhead rounds, 39 60mm warhead rounds, 25 mortar charges, an 81mm mortar round, three high-explosive assembled warhead rounds, two RPG-9 rounds, 55 various grenades, 16 blasting caps, five AK-47 chest kits, six AK-47 magazines, a set of binoculars, an RPG sight box, a machine gun rod, an unknown aiming device, a mortar sight and a test light.
The fifth cache had three AK-47 magazines, a two-way radio, a plastic grenade, 300 7.62mm rounds, a spool of wire, a camera bag, a tripod, a hand drill and an improvised explosive device kit.
The last cache included five RPG-9 rounds, two 81mm mortar rounds, three blasting caps, a mortar site, a warhead, a homemade rocket launcher, 22 boxes of mortar charges, an 81mm warhead, two 60mm warheads, a ammunition can, 20 feet of detonation cord, a set of binoculars and a cell phone battery.
“The Soldiers of 2-14 are putting a huge dent in the terrorists’ capabilities,” said Maj. Brock Jones, the 2-14 Inf. executive officer and native of Lakewood, Ohio. “Each large caliber round is one less (improvised explosive device) the enemy can emplace.”
The Soldiers will continue to search the area in hopes of finding more caches.
An explosive ordnance detonation team destroyed the contents of the caches and the operation is still ongoing.
KALSU, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers uncovered a large ammunition cache containing more than 100 mortar rounds south of Baghdad March 2.Iraqi, U.S. troops unearth large weapons caches
Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division located the cache near Bahbahani while on a dismounted patrol.
The cache contained 87 60mm mortar rounds, 15 82mm rounds, two 120mm rounds, one 122mm round, 16 130mm rounds and two 155mm rounds.
An explosive ordnance disposal team secured the cache for a controlled detonation.
YUSUFIYAH, Iraq — Military operations southwest of Baghdad snared extensive weapons caches March 1 near Yusufiyah, Iraq, hindering terrorist activity.Mar 1:
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division conducted search missions into an area known to coalition forces as Janabi Village, uncovering multiple caches and detaining several Iraqis suspected of being involved in or having knowledge of terrorist operations.
The caches included five AK-47s and 19 magazines, 60 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, four bandoliers for ammunition, a flare, an unknown type of machine gun, an Iraqi Army-issued radio, a radio tuned to the Iraqi national police frequency, four false identification cards, three rolls of copper wire, a garage-door remote control, a log book and paperwork documenting terrorist operations, a collapsible baton, two sniper rifles, an 82mm mortar system with 64 rounds and 400,000 Iraqi Dinar – about $312 in U.S. currency.
Also found were two 155mm rounds, 46 105mm rounds, a directional charge, a roll of detonation cord, eight 120mm rounds, three 60mm rounds, an Iraqi soldier’s load-bearing vest, a bag of unidentified powder, a remote timer, altered identification papers, a camera, two lengths of crush wire, two long-range cell phones and command detonation wires.
The Iraqi and U.S. troops also found a Dragonov sniper rifle with telescopic sights, 800 rounds for a PKC machine gun, a pressure-wire improvised explosive device, a rifle with a telescopic sight, two shoulder-fired rocket launchers, a receiver for a Dishka machine gun, a bipod, a bottle of homemade explosive, 20 shotgun shells, two gas masks, two air-delivered bombs, 70 unidentified fuses, a used rocket shell, two Katyusha rockets, 44 60mm mortar rounds, three small artillery charge bags and one large artillery charge bag, two 70mm rockets, two video cassettes, two hand grenades, five electric switches, a Japanese-made grenade, 46 mortar charges, 19 155mm mortar fuses and a destroyed camera.
“The caches found by the 4/6 and the 2-15th Soldiers will definitely have an impact in the Sayyid-Abdullah corridor,” said 2-15th executive officer Maj. Douglas Mayzel.
The two units are working together as part of Operation Commando Viper, said Maj. Web Wright, a spokesman for the 2nd BCT.
“The mission is being conducted to deny the enemy freedom of movement in southern Baghdad,” he said. “We have found multiple caches throughout the area of operations.”
Baghdad – Fallujah Iraqi Police detained six suspects during operations with Coalition advisers Mar. 1 in Karma targeting al Qaeda in Iraq facilitators.Iraqi Army Detains 5 Suspects During Operations Against IED Builder
Iraqi Police were targeting several suspected insurgents responsible for providing funds, weapons and transportation to al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists and insurgents conducting attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi Security Forces in the area.
There were no reports of Iraqi civilians, Iraqi forces or Coalition Forces casualties.
BAGHDAD – Special Iraqi Army forces detained five suspects during operations with Coalition advisors March 1 in Baghdad, targeting an improvised explosive device builder.THREE TERRORISTS KILLED, 16 OTHERS DETAINED IN OPERATIONS
During operations, a Coalition force over-watch element observed a man armed with an assault rifle moving from roof top to roof top appearing to track Iraqi Forces and Coalition force members on the ground. The man positioned himself in a vantage point where he had a clear sight of the ground forces. The suspect was then observed raising his weapon and aiming it in the direction of Iraqi Forces and Coalition force members, posing an immediate threat to them. The Coalition over-watch element shot the man neutralizing the threat.
Coalition force and Iraqi Army medics rendered immediate aid to the gunman to help stabilize him for movement to a hospital. The man died before he was able to be transported.
There was minimal damage to the objective. There were no Iraqi Forces or Coalition force casualties.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces killed three terrorists and detained 16 suspected terrorists during operations Thursday morning targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq.
During an operation west of Ramadi, Coalition Forces killed two terrorists and detained six suspected terrorists with alleged ties to foreign fighter facilitation.
South of Baghdad, Coalition Forces killed one armed terrorist who charged at them as they entered a targeted building.
Six suspected terrorists allegedly associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq were detained in operations in Bayji, and four others with alleged ties to foreign fighter facilitation were detained in Ramadi.
“Coalition Forces will continue to successfully kill or capture al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists regardless of where they may hide or operate,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. “No place is safe for a terrorist in Iraq.”
All I can say is WOW!!!! God Bless Our Soldiers and Keep Them Save....Posted by Lori at March 4, 2007 04:46 PM
bless our troops indeed but if you post only those good things that take place you are simply pushing the Surge agenda and not noting where it may not be working, as in this instancez
That is certainly a sad and tragic story, but I don't see what it has to do with the new operation to secure Baghdad. Obviously, when Baghdad is secure, and the law is really enforced for all equally, then these people would benefit as well.
In fact the story states quite plainly that it is Islamic Militants that are forcing these poor people out of their homes and neighborhoods.
Nice try, but I'm not buying it. These people are victims of the same forces we're fighting against in trying to secure Baghdad. Your comment about this being an instance where the new approach "may not be working" doesn't make any sense.Posted by Del Simmons at March 4, 2007 07:27 PM
"you are simply pushing the Surge agenda"
I'm still trying to simply spread the word on what the surge is (or isn't).
While I was opposed to it before it became reality, I can't argue with the results.Posted by Greyhawk at March 4, 2007 07:59 PM
One of the reports mentions the taking of a DShK heavy machine gun, and describes it as "anti-aircraft". It's a .51 caliber, roughly equivalent to our M2 .50 caliber. Particularly when mounted on a tripod it is more likely to be used against vehicles or personnel.Posted by triticale at March 4, 2007 08:09 PM
A DShK (pronounced Dishka) is more than enough to down an aircraft. The Afghans racked up quite a few Soviet choppers with that gun. Comparing calibers is a non-sequitor, but our Ma Deuces could do the same. If you saw what a .50 cal round will do to a human body, perhaps you'd reconsider your stance.Posted by Buck Sargent at March 4, 2007 09:41 PM
"bless our troops indeed but if you post only those good things that take place you are simply pushing the Surge agenda and not noting where it may not be working, as in this instancez"
David: I think the mainstream media does a fine job with keeping us updated with bad news. It's unfortunate that I have to search the internet for anything other than bad news. I can tell you are a "cup half empty" person. So sad. Maybe you can weep over the fact that 90,000 Americans died in hospitals last year from a staph infection, or that 58,000 Americans were killed in car accidents last year, or investigate how 68,000 Americans were killed by another American in this country since March 2003. See, there is and always will be another side to life. But it is nice to see that when our military is allowed to do their job, success follows. I pray that it keeps up. You should too.Posted by Lori at March 4, 2007 11:46 PM
Just wondering if, in all these large arms caches, there were any stockpiled weapons NOT with Iranian markings? Regardless of how such munitions were smuggled in --West from Syria, East from Iran-- they were assuredly not pilfered from Iraqi forces in such quantities.
How long before Washington compresses Ahmadinejad's doofus Caliphate to a sliver between Afghanistan and Iraq? Now that the Secret Imam has dissed Saudi Arabia, we could start any time. A little EMP action in the Teheran suburbs might bring 72 beautiful nekkid houris to the Grand Inquisitors' attention.