Precision Strikes Erode Zarqawi Network; U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2004 Multinational Force Iraq troops continued progress in ridding Fallujah, Iraq, of foreign terrorists and their supporters, further reducing the Zarqawi network's capability today with a precision strike on a training facility on the city's outskirts, officials at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad reported.
Meanwhile, multinational and Iraqi forces carried out joint operations today near Hillah, in the Babil Province, and a U.S. soldier with Task Force Baghdad was killed by small-arms fire late Oct. 1.
Coalition forces launched a strike at 6 p.m. Baghdad time on a building where 15 to 20 anti-Iraqi forces with links to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network were conducting military-style training. Intelligence sources said the training was designed to help the terrorists disrupt Iraqi Security Forces efforts and harass the local people, officials said.
An analysis of multiple intelligence reports confirmed that Multinnational Force Iraq had accurately targeted the building while protecting innocent civilians. Officials said "multiple measures" were used to ensure no innocent civilians were present when the strikes took place.
Another precision strike, launched late Oct. 1, successfully took out a confirmed Zarqawi site in northeast Fallujah. The terrorist group used this site used to plan suicide attacks on innocent civilians and Iraqi forces, officials reported. Sources said about 10 terrorists were at the safe house at the time of the strike, shortly before 11 p.m. Baghdad time.
Intelligence indicated that no innocent civilians were at the site at the time of the strike. Officials said multinational forces took measures to protect innocent civilians and surrounding buildings, noting that the Zarqawi network continues to disregard the safety of the Iraqi people by hiding among them.
Meanwhile, Polish soldiers from Multinational Division Central-South, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces carried out joint operations in Sayahiyah and Raranijyah near Hillah, officials reported.
The operations, launched to prevent terrorist attacks and provide stability in the region, netted 10 suspected terrorists, including a former general in Saddam Hussein's army wanted by Iraqi police. Five of the suspects were released after on-the-spot initial investigations. Also found were several AK- 47 weapons, ammunition and anti-Iraqi propaganda.
In other Operation Iraqi Freedom news, two U.S. soldiers with the 1st Cavalry Division's Task Force Lancer received the Silver Star Medal during a Sept. 30 ceremony at Camp Hope, Iraq.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Swope, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment's Company C, and Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger, a dismounted squad leader with Company A, were honored for "exceptional valor" in combat during Operation Lancer Fury.
That operation, conducted April 4-9 in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, was launched in response to the first violent insurgency by rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq press releases.)