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Steel Curtain Operations Move Into Karabilah

American Forces Press Service

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq, Nov. 10, 2005 – Iraqi and U.S. forces began clearing-and-holding operations in the city of Karabilah, about two kilometers east of Husaybah, as Operation Steel Curtain entered its sixth day, officials said here today.

The new phase of is intended to set conditions for a permanent security presence within the city. Patrols and targeted raids are also being conducted in Husaybah, where the operation was first launched Nov. 5, to root out any remaining al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists.

Intelligence indicates some terrorists might have abandoned Husaybah once Iraqi and U.S. forces began clearing that city and fled into Karabilah.

Husaybah is now secure enough, officials said, for its displaced residents staying in the temporary lodging facility to return to their homes. They had fled the city because of fighting taking place against the terrorists.

Since entering into Karabilah Nov. 9, coalition and Iraqi forces have met sporadic small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices. Two suspected car bombs were also discovered and when engaged by coalition forces, large secondary explosions were observed, confirming the presence of ordnance in both vehicles.

At about 3 p.m. Nov. 9, coalition forces discovered a house wired with numerous explosives. Fifteen explosive rounds were found inside the walls and a 40-pound charge was discovered in the floor of the building. An explosive ordnance disposal unit destroyed the ordnance in place.

The operation is the second in Karabilah. Operation Spear there last June was notable for the torture chamber found in an abandoned house with two Iraqi men chained to the floor. They had been tortured for refusing to cooperate with al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists who operated throughout the city. Medical personnel treated and released them.

Steel Curtain's goal is to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the al Qaim region.

The offensive is part of Operation Hunter, designed to deny terrorists the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a permanent security presence along the Syrian border.

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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