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U.S., Iraqi Troops Step Up Patrols, Defuse Weapons Caches

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2006 – U.S. and Iraqi troops have stepped up their patrols in Iraq's Baghdad and Babil provinces, and thanks to assistance from ordinary Iraqis, they've found and defused numerous roadside bombs, mine fields, and weapons caches, U.S. military officials in Iraq reported.

The stepped-up patrols are designed to provide a safe environment for ordinary Iraqis, officials said. Iraq has been wracked with demonstrations and violence because of the recent terrorist bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra.

The Iraqi government responded to this violence by imposing a temporary evening curfew, followed by a daytime curfew, in the Baghdad and Babil provinces. The increased presence patrols are scheduled to continue for at least the next 48 hours, officials said.

"The attack on the Askariya Mosque is a senseless terrorist act designed to sow the seeds of sectarian violence," said Army Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman, Multinational Division Baghdad commander.

Meanwhile, Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad officials provided details on several recent events:

  • Acting on a citizen's tip, Multinational Division Baghdad's 53rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company stopped a potential threat yesterday by finding and destroying an MK-84 bomb near a mosque south of Hillahid.
  • Soldiers from MND-B's 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division's Special Police Transition Team, found a murdered body and a weapons cache yesterday while on patrol in southern Baghdad. The victim had been shot in the chest. The cache had mortar tubes and rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, rockets, small-arms rounds, roadside bombs primed with washing machine timers, stand-alone washing machine timers, cordless phones and anti-tank hand grenades. One mortar-firing device was mounted to the back of a tractor.
  • An Iraqi woman and child were wounded yesterday when a terrorist's mortar round hit a house in the Kadhmiyah area of northern Baghdad. Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 6th Iraqi Army Division, transported the pair to a local hospital for treatment.
  • Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, found a roadside bomb east of Najaf on Feb. 23, thanks to a tip from an Iraqi citizen. The shape-charge bomb was encased in Styrofoam and was pointing toward a road. Iraqi police and an Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team arrived on the scene and defused the bomb.
  • Also Feb. 23, Iraqi and coalition soldiers cleared a previously unidentified minefield near Tikrit, thanks to a tip from a local man. The soldiers, from the 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, were searching the area for weapons caches when they came across the man, who guided them to the minefield. The joint U.S.-Iraqi team discovered and destroyed anti-personnel mines. Machine gun ammunition and rifles also were confiscated.
  • Two Iraqi soldiers were wounded Feb 23 when a terrorist's mortar shell hit northwest of Baghdad. They were taken to the 10th Combat Support Hospital for treatment.
  • Iraqi and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers discovered and destroyed nine roadside bombs and two weapons caches from the evening of Feb. 22 to the morning of Feb. 23
  • Based on a tip from a local Iraqi citizen, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, conducted a cordon-and-search operation west of Baghdad on Feb. 22. The soldiers detained two suspected terrorists and found a weapons cache, which included rocket-propelled grenade launchers, RPG rounds, RPG boosters, mortar rounds, flash bang grenades, hand grenades, anti-tank rounds, fuses and blasting caps.
  • Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, found and destroyed another weapons cache southwest of Baghdad on Feb. 22. This cache had mortar and artillery rounds, rockets and mortar base plates.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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