Dear Interested Readers,
So many weapons caches are being turned in by the Iraqi people, as well as tips to capture high level insurgents. The last story is most fascinating, showing how our liberation of Iraq has allowed for religious freedom. I can't even imagine biking 45 miles, let alone walking them!
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
March 2, 2008
Iraqi Sheik turns in weapons cache
BAGHDAD - A local Tarmiya sheik turned in a weapons cache Feb. 29 to MND - Baghdad Soldiers from 1st Bn, 14th Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, northwest of Baghdad.
The cache consisted of 41 artillery shells of various calibers, artillery casings filled with home made explosives and detonating cord, 13 metal containers filled with home made explosives, 7 mortar shells, 2 missile warheads, 3 rocket warheads, 2 jugs of nitric acid and 7 detonating fuses.
"This is a convincing commitment to show the forward progress for stability of all people in Iraq," said Lt Col. Thomas Boccardi, cmdr. of 1st Bn. "All the tribes from the Tarmiya area see stability and peace, as is evident by turning in this cache."
Local man discovers large cache in barn after return home
Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.
FOB KALSU - MND-C Soldiers discovered a large weapons cache Feb. 28 thanks to a tip from an Iraqi citizen who recently returned to southern Arab Jabour. The man, driven from his home by al Qaeda-in-Iraq, recently returned to the area thanks to the efforts of Abna al-Iraq or Sons of Iraq (SoI), and Soldiers of the 5th Sqdrn, 7th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 3rd ID.
The man, whose son is a member of the SOI, located the cache while removing debris from his barn. He noticed discoloration in the dirt and reported his find to Soldiers at Patrol Base Meade.
Approx. 5 feet underground, Soldiers and local volunteers discovered 6 55-gallon drums containing 50 rocket-propelled grenade warheads, an RPG launcher, 200 rounds of 37 mm ammo, 500 rounds of 23 mm ammo, and 2,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammo among other munitions.
Soldiers of Troop B inventory the contents of six large barrels.
MND-C Soldiers conduct air assault, detain 2 in Kanasa
By Spc. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.
FOB HAMMER - Soldiers conducted a nighttime air assault mission in Kanasa, a small village south of Salmon Pak, Feb. 28.
The Soldiers, assigned to Co B, 1st Bn, 15th Inf Regt, cleared 6 houses and detained 2 individuals for questioning. "The main purpose of this mission was to capture or kill any enemy combatants we came across and continue to secure the area around (Combat Outpost) Carver," said 1st Lt. Ivan Eno, plt leader for 2nd Squad, Co B. "Overall, I think it went well. All of our guys, right down to the lowest level, understood our intent and scheme and executed it accordingly."
The area south of Salman Pak had been an extremist safe haven. It is sparsely populated and has many places to hide or seek refuge. "There are a lot of abandoned houses and farms down there for extremists to take refuge in," Eno said. "The area is mainly marshy farmland and there haven't been any SoI or CF down there."
Iraqi SWAT and U.S. SF detain three following operation in Mosul
BALAD - An Iraqi SWAT team, advised by U.S. SF, detained the alleged leader of an assassination and IED cell Feb. 29 during ops in northeast Mosul. Two other suspected terrorists were also detained.
ISF safely usher Arba'een observers
BAGHDAD - Approx. 9 million religious observers converged on Karbala this week to celebrate Arba'een. U.S. cmdrs. attribute the overall success of the event to careful planning and massive security ops by the IP and army.
"Millions of Iraqis enjoyed the freedom to worship because of the courage and professionalism of Iraq's soldiers and policemen," said Brig. Gen. Jim Huggins, dep. com. general for maneuver, MND-Center.
The Shia Muslim holiday, which culminated Feb. 27, was preceded by more than a week of travel for many observers who came to Karbala from all over Iraq and around the world. Within Iraq, millions traveled through Baghdad, Najaf, Hillah and Iskandariyah to reach the Muslim holy city.
Throughout the journey and commemoration, Iraqi SF led an unprecedented op to secure the festivities, deploying a total of 39,000 soldiers and police to man checkpoints, secure routes, and collect and analyze intelligence. Within the city of Karbala and the surrounding area, 80 ISF checkpoints were established to screen for bombs and weapons. Special accommodations were made to search women, because of a recent increase in the number of female suicide bombers in Iraq.
MND-Center soldiers from the 4th BCT, 3rd ID, assisted the ISF, providing intel and logistics support throughout the ongoing security op. "When it comes to providing security for the citizens of Iraq, the Iraqi SF - both police and army - are taking charge more and more," said Col. Thomas James, cmdr of 4th BCT. "The high level of success achieved during Arba'een is a testament to the Iraqi SF, and to the fact that they can be relied upon to provide effective security for their own people and why they will continue to provide this security for a long time."
Observers began the trip home Feb. 28, and millions are expected to remain on the roads through the weekend. Arba'een represents the finale of the Ashura commemoration, marking the 40th day after Imam Hussein was killed in Karbala in the seventh century. Large-scale public recognitions of Arba'een were banned in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but resumed in 2003 following the U.S. liberation.
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter flies over Mahmudiyah at the beginning of the Arba'een observance.
While Shia pilgrims observe Arba'een, female observers pass through a tent to be searched and Iraqi Army Soldiers on the route search men during the 45-mile walk from Najaf to Karbala.
Capt. Rimas Radzius, intel officer for 3rd Bn, 320th FAR, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn Div (Air Assault) watches from an overpass.