Soldier Killed in Afghanistan; Iraq Operations Continue
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2005 A U.S. soldier and an Afghan citizen were killed early this morning near Shindand Airfield in Afghanistan's Herat province during an exchange of gunfire while coalition forces were searching a compound.
Officials said coalition forces came under fire from an unknown number of enemy forces while conducting a routine search of a compound.
The Afghan citizen died at the scene. The U.S. soldier was wounded in the attack and evacuated immediately to Shindand Airfield, where he died a short time later. The soldier's name is being withheld pending family notification.
In Iraq, several thousand soldiers and Marines from the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team began Operation River Walk early this morning. A written statement from Multinational Force Iraq officials said the operation is "increasing the pressure on insurgents who intimidate the residents in northern Babil province and threaten to disrupt fair elections scheduled later this month."
In the air and on the ground, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Delta, 9th Cavalry Brigade Recon Troop, and Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, moved into positions throughout northern Babil to search for insurgents operating in the area.
"The residents want peace and security," said Lt. Col. Matt Kaufman, executive officer, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "The insurgents operating in this area will not succeed in their attempts to instill violence among the people of this area. We will ensure that the citizens of south Baghdad are given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming national elections."
Soldiers and Marines are conducting cordon-and-knock as well as cordon-and- search operations in many areas of north Babil. Eighteen people suspected of insurgent activities were detained, and several weapons caches were discovered.
A cache found in a cemetery included 300 RPK machine-gun rounds, 144 .50- caliber armor-piercing rounds, 75 rocket boosters, 32 grenade fuses, 25 130 mm artillery rounds, 16 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 11 82 mm mortar fuses, 10 RPG fuses, eight 120 mm rockets, three 82 mm mortars, three 60 mm mortar rounds, two tank Sabot rounds, and an RPG booster.
An additional cache containing 200 RPK rounds, 60 mm mortar rounds, 82 mm rounds, 45 RPG-7 rounds, and four recoilless rifle rounds was consolidated and destroyed by combat engineers.
A separate cache discovered included 1 million Iraqi dinar and $40,000 in U.S. currency, 70,000 7.62 mm rounds, 800 9 mm rounds, 103 blasting caps, 49 60 mm mortar rounds, 31 RPG rounds, 25 120 mm recoilless rifle rounds, 25 75 mm recoilless rifle rounds, 10 AK-47 assault rifles, 10 pistols, six additional various rifles, an MP-5 submachine gun, a flare gun, a complete 60 mm mortar system, a pair of night-vision binoculars, weapons magazines and a myriad of electronic equipment.
An intelligence-based search of a suspected bomb-maker's home netted 20 rocket propelled-grenade rounds, eight rifles, five pistols, a 60 mm mortar tube and assorted electrical equipment pieces.
Soldiers of the 1st Marine Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force detained 63 people during several raids Jan. 1 near Khalidiyah. The soldiers also confiscated a safe containing 1 million dinar and $700. Insurgent propaganda, including pamphlets soliciting local business owners and detailing their responsibilities for cooperating with the insurgency, also was found.
Reconnaissance Marines from the 1st Marine Division discovered weapons caches Jan. 1 and 2 during sweeping operations near Abu Ghraib. Among weapons seized and destroyed were 25 122 mm rockets, a large bomb, a 122 mm mortar round, 53 14.5 mm rounds, a can of 14.5 mm linked rounds, seven 60 mm mortar rounds, 21 rifle grenades, an RPG booster, two 120 mm illumination rounds, 12 120 mm high- explosive rounds, 1,600 7.62 mm rounds, a 60 mm mortar tube, a 120 mm mortar tube, 113 RPG rounds, four RPG practice rounds, two RPG launchers, three RPG propellant charges, 16 trip flares, 39 mines, 15 mine primers and 127 Weston flash generator cartridges.
Thirteen suspected insurgents were detained by soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, during a late-night raid Jan. 1. Three of the men were wanted by Multinational Force Iraq for attacks on the city's Highway 5. They were picked up at home in Baghdad's Rashid district.
Besides detaining the 13 men, the soldiers found two AK-47s, A 9 mm pistol, 75 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, AND detonation cord and other material to build improvised explosive devices. Officials said the detonation cord found matches cord found at the sites of previous IED attacks in the area. Several of the weapons also tested positive for recent firing, officials said.
Task Force Baghdad Soldiers were attacked today in north Babil when four improvised explosive devices detonated near their patrol. There were no casualties or damage to equipment in the attack. Earlier, Task Force Baghdad soldiers took enemy fire in western Baghdad. The gunman then hid in a house, which the Task Force soldiers surrounded and searched. Two people were detained and two rifles were found in the residence. There were no casualties in the attack.
Other Task Force Baghdad soldiers were attacked today in southwestern Baghdad when a patrol was struck by a car bomb. Two soldiers were wounded in the attack, and the suicide bomber was killed.
Iraqi security forces decisively defeated another attack by anti-Iraqi insurgents who tried to seize a police station in southeast Mosul on Jan. 1.
The station came under RPG fire during a coordinated effort by insurgent fighters to overrun the station, officials said. The Iraqi police successfully repelled the attack, the fifth attack on the station this week. Each attack has resulted in defeat for the insurgents and a victory for the Iraqi security forces. Since Nov. 10, insurgents have tried but failed 12 times to overrun Mosul police stations, officials said.
Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), detained 14 people Jan. 1 for suspected insurgent activities in northern Iraq. Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 14th Calvary Regiment, conducted a cordon- and-search operation in Tal Afar and detained eight people suspected of planning and conducting insurgent activities.
A cordon-and-search operation by soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, near the village of Dinij resulted in four suspected insurgents being detained.
Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, conducted a cordon-and- search operation in Nadeech village and detained two people suspected of planning and conducting attacks against multinational forces.
(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan and Multinational Force Iraq news releases. Army Maj. Philip Smith, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs, contributed to this report.)