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Officials Outline Successes in Iraq Aug. 19-25

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 27, 2005 – Coalition forces continued to help Iraqi citizens with humanitarian missions and to help train Iraqi security forces to bring stability to the country. Iraqi soldiers and police worked with local citizens to create a safer environment, and reconstruction projects like new police and fire stations are building the security infrastructure. Other reconstruction projects were able to provide potable water to citizens who otherwise didn't have access to it.

Coalition forces turned over Camp Zulu in Suwayrah, Iraq, to the Iraqi army on Aug. 21. The division's 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, will be permanently housed there. This is the 24th base to be turned over to the Iraqis, returning the land to the government elected by the people.

The 5th Infantry Battalion of the Bulgarian army trained Iraqi soldiers in engineering and medical responses, and held a live-fire exercise this week. Medics from the Bulgarian contingent also provided regular assistance to local citizens who needed medical treatment.

Ukrainian military advisers and instructors completed training for the 3rd Battalion of 3rd Infantry Brigade of the Iraqi army, which will take control from the Ukrainians in Wassit province next month. Currently, Iraqi security forces are manning joint security checkpoints and conducting patrols with the Ukrainian troops.

A new Salvadoran contingent started its duty in the central-south region of Iraq on Aug. 20. The 380 soldiers, stationed at Hillah, will focus on civil-military cooperation, humanitarian assistance and training and advising the Iraqi security forces. The last rotation of Salvadoran soldiers organized and conducted 85 projects to help the Iraqi people, including water supply and sewage systems, education, health care, public security, and transportation.

Early this week, workers completed rehabilitation of the domestic water network in Sulaymaniyah. This project is to rehabilitate the potable water system, intended to improve the efficiency of the system there by 20 percent.

The Maissa potable water system, a $21,000 project in Mosul to replace a failed water line, was also completed. Also this week, the $27 million water treatment project in Balad Rooz District of Diyala Province will provide 40 kilometers of transmission piping and increase the water treatment plant's capacity to serve 72,000 families, compared to the current capacity of 1,136 families.

The $958,000 Al Baida water supply project, which will provide a new water line from the water tower in Warka to the community of Baida, began on the 22nd.

Approximately 25,000 Iraqis in the Dahuk, Babylon and Wassit provinces will get treated, potable water thanks to $3 million released for local projects. The projects will upgrade 15 systems, each including water wells, compact potable water treatment plants, and pumps. Completion dates for the 15 projects vary, but are all scheduled to be finished by January 2006.

Construction has restarted on the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City's $902,000 Al Sadr Fire Station project, after a recent construction collapse while concrete was being placed. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2006. This three-story structure is almost 10,000 square feet and features five bays: three for ladder trucks and two for other vehicles. It includes a dormitory area for 20 firefighters, dining room for 30, commercial-grade kitchenette to feed 40 people, a training room for 20, a locker room, a control room, and a chief's office.

Construction also started on two new police station projects in Fallujah and one in Muthanna province. Each of the two-story facilities in Fallujah measures more than 35,000 square feet and includes a dorm area for 100 police officers, offices, a holding cell, conference room, kitchenette, armory, and covered courtyards. The Khider police station construction project in Muthanna province provided new perimeter walls, replaced roof systems, installed a 528-gallon water tank and piping for potable water storage, and restored electrical and masonry work to the existing police station in Khider.

Phase III of the $10 million Najaf Teaching Hospital project began this week with a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony on the second floor of the hospital. This phase of the project includes civil, mechanical, electrical and plumbing rehabilitation throughout the facility. The contract also includes a physicians' residence building, sewer treatment plant, a morgue, storage and garages, and remodeling of the main entrance to the hospital.

Five hundred children in a community west of Hillah will start school in a newly renovated school, thanks also to coalition forces in the Central-South Division, who finished work on the Abu Gharaq school this week.

Other coalition forces built a playground Aug. 19 for the children of the Tesin Orphanage in Kirkuk. Soldiers built the playground out of discarded auto parts, welding the various parts together. Coalition civil affairs soldiers spent a busy day with the local leaders, delivering school supplies and then assessing the Musala and Al Sader primary schools.

Six school construction and renovation projects were started this week, while two others in Dahuk province were completed.

Coalition forces rescued a hostage being held by terrorists, captured the kidnappers, and seized weapons from a terrorist safe house during a cordon-and-search operation Aug. 18 in the Muthana Zayuna district of central Baghdad.

Iraqi security forces were busy as well, discovering two improvised explosive devices while on patrol in Mugdadiyah. An Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team disarmed the device and removed it for later destruction, making the area safe.

Iraqi Army Soldiers, manning a traffic control point, detained one insurgent after searching a vehicle in Mosul and finding a light machine gun and 2,500 rounds of ammunition. Soldiers of the Iraqi Highway Patrol were doing their part, as well, when they discovered an improvised explosive device 29 kilometers northwest of Bayji. An Iraqi EOD team was called in to neutralize the threat and make the area safe for the public.

Iraqi Police Service officers in Mosul found two 120mm rounds, which they turned over to an Iraqi EOD team for disposal.

Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement officers and coalition forces interdicted a small group of smugglers and a large mule train crossing the Syrian border northwest of Tal Afar on Aug. 19. Troops discovered five or six men leading more than 200 mules carrying fuel pods into Iraq. The smugglers were able to escape back into Syria with some of the mules, but Iraqi and coalition forces captured 145 of the mules and their fuel loads.

Iraqi citizens continued to augment security forces this week by providing information about insurgent activity. Iraqi Police Service officers on patrol received a tip from a local citizen concerning a suspected weapons cache in the Zohour district of Baghdad. Police uncovered 68 mortar rounds buried in a field. The munitions were transported to Boob Al Sham police station. This was the second significant cache foundnd in the same area in two days. Thirty-two mortar rounds were discovered Aug. 21.

Coalition soldiers seized an opportunity to help Iraqis who had been injured in a head-on traffic accident near Tuz while returning from a combat patrol. The soldiers provided first aid until an Iraqi ambulance arrived to transport the victims to a hospital.

As part of a coalition and Iraqi stability-and-support operation, several truckloads of humanitarian assistance rolled out from a forward operating base in southern Baghdad to provide Horajeb residents with basic food items, medical supplies, and recreational items Aug. 17. Friends and family members of the U.S. forces donated toys and soccer balls.

The mayor of Muqdadiyah, coalition forces and Iraqi soldiers delivered critical medical supplies to the Muqdadiyah Women and Children's Hospital.

Since the beginning of their mission in Iraq, Ukrainian forces have given medical aid to approximately 3,000 Iraqis. Locals from the Wassit province are treated for routine injuries on the spot or taken to the medical contingent's hospital.

Coalition medics helped train Iraqi army soldiers in combat medical skills this week. Class enrollment tripled since the unit first offered the training. Other forward operating bases throughout the Baghdad area are scheduling combat medic courses to assist in increasing the survivability of the Iraqi army as they assume responsibility for their own security.

In the Combat Leaders Course at the Diyala Regional Training Facility, coalition soldiers worked with their Iraqi counterparts to train soldiers from the Iraqi army's 5th Division to be better battlefield leaders. Training during the 14-day course builds on the Iraqi soldiers' basic military knowledge and skills. Iraqi cadre performs most of the instruction, and coalition soldiers supervise, observe and instruct when needed.

The development of Iraqi security forces is cultivating a more secure environment for Iraqis, and through help from many coalition partners and Iraqi citizens, Iraq is progressing toward a stable and prosperous country, U.S. officials said in summing up the progress.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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