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Marines Rescue Hostage, Uncover Caches

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 – Marines assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, rescued one hostage and uncovered two partially buried caches yesterday while conducting search-and-knock operations here, military officials reported.

"By rescuing this gentleman and capturing the kidnappers, it shows the Iraqi people we do care for them, their safety and their future," said Marine Lt. Col. William Seely, the battalion commander. "I am extremely proud of those Marines. The Marines saved a life and reunited a family. It just doesn't get any better."

After receiving intelligence from reliable sources, the Marines raided a house and launched an extensive search of the premises. Soon after gaining entry into the facility, the Marines discovered three suspected insurgents in beds and a local national hostage, whose body bore marks of torture, huddled on the floor.

"It looked like they had beaten him pretty bad with a cane," said Cpl. Eric Maxwell, who participated in the operation. "He couldn't stand on his own; we had to pick him up. Our corpsman provided medical attention to the guy."

The three insurgents were detained. The situation continued to develop, though, and culminated in the elimination of two arms caches.

"Another platoon had a (person) get away, so my vehicle and Corporal Maxwell's vehicle moved from the house; the rest of the element moved in on the guy on foot," said Sgt. David Evans, an assistant team leader.

After pursuing the fleeing insurgent through fields, the Marines chanced upon "a dug-up cache in a reed line," he said. The find led them to another cache 50 meters to the west on the other side of a canal.

In sum, the stockpiles yielded one 155 mm artillery round and 15 130 mm artillery rounds. Both caches were destroyed by combat engineers attached to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. The Marines also uncovered several identification badges, insurgent propaganda, one Italian 8 mm pistol with magazine, one AK 47 assault rifle with a chest rig and six magazines, and one M14 with 10 rounds.

"You might see a decrease in IED activity in that area," Evans said. "It makes them think, ‘When is the next one going to come?’"

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi army soldiers found 28 bodies in a mass grave yesterday south of Baqubah.

Elements from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division with support from coalition forces, including an air weapons team, identified the possible grave site. The Iraqi troops recovered the bodies and moved them to the Narwan area for identification by possible family members. The bodies were later transported to an Iraqi police station in Baghdad.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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