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'Operation Cowpens' Continues on Iraq's Jabouri Peninsula

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2006 – A coalition military operation on Iraq's Jabouri Peninsula has yielded numerous mortar and artillery rounds, weapons and ammunition, bomb-making materials, and suspected insurgents, military officials reported today.

Officials said "Operation Cowpens" was planned and conducted to engage insurgents, deny them resources, and degrade their ability to make and deploy roadside bombs and otherwise engage coalition forces on the peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Tigris River.

Elements of the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, along with 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, and the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 4th Iraqi Army Division, participated in the mission.

"The Iraqi army is the major search element, and they're doing an outstanding job," said Army Capt. Timothy Knoth, a company commander in 1-8 CAB. "They have an inordinate amount of technical expertise. They provide the initial confirmation or denial of enemy effects."

Operations began March 19 with an early-morning ground and air assault on the peninsula by members of the Iraqi army and 1-8 CAB. In this initial movement, coalition and enemy fighters exchanged small-arms fire. Seven enemy fighters were killed, and two U.S. soldiers were wounded. A large cache of weapons, ammunition and mortar rounds was discovered within hours of the initial movement.

In the first 10 days of the operation, coalition and Iraqi forces confiscated more than 300 mortars, projectiles and rockets; rocket-propelled grenade launchers; AK-47 rifles and magazines; more than 100 pounds of explosives; blasting caps; hand grenades; cell phones, 115 sticks of dynamite; radios and numerous bomb-making materials.

In the operation's latest find, Company A, 1-8 CAB soldiers today turned up a machine gun, a sniper scope, a mortar bipod, a mortar tube, eight RPGs, five mortar rounds, seven rockets, 7.62 mm ammunition, an AK-47, an RPG launcher with sights, and a sniper rifle.

Elsewhere, soldiers from Company C, 4th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and the U.S. Army's 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, discovered a large weapons cache today in southwestern Baghdad.

The cache included about 900 pounds of high-munitions explosives, a roll of detonation cord, nine long-range communication antennas and two demolition sticks weighing about 300 pounds. They also found roadside bombs made from various materials, including two anti-artillery guns and eight 155 mm rounds. The soldiers also found a 122 mm round, a fire extinguisher, 30 82 mm mortar rounds and a 300-pound acetylene tank, all prepared as roadside bombs.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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