Coalition Operations Focus on Stability
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 5, 2004 The coalition continues offensive and support operations aimed at restoring a stable environment in Iraq, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said today at a Baghdad briefing.
These actions sustain the overall coalition mission of repairing the infrastructure, restoring the economy and transferring sovereignty to the people of Iraq, noted Kimmitt, deputy operations chief for Combined Joint Task Force 7.
In the northern zone of operations, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search in Balaji yesterday targeting weapons dealers. "Two primary targets and an additional suspect were detained and a large cache of ammunition was seized," Kimmitt said. "Coalition forces also conducted a cordon and search in Hammam al Alil, targeting three anti-coalition cell members and they were detained without incident."
In the north-central zone of operations, a coalition forces patrol observed a suspicious male carrying a bag near al Duluiyah, the general noted. "The patrol pursued the man into a house and conducted a hasty raid where three males were seized," Kimmitt said. "The combat patrol seized four AK-47s in the bag, which had a rocket-propelled grenade sight assembly, two blocks of TNT and firing instructions for rocket-propelled grenades.
"In Baghdad, the 1st Cavalry Division conducted 430 patrols capturing 28 anti- coalition suspects in the past 24 hours," Kimmitt noted. "Yesterday, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search in the vicinity of the Ali Mohammed mosque in northwest Baghdad for five individuals believed to responsible for an IED (improvised explosive device) that killed coalition soldiers on May 2."
He said five individuals were detained, all testing positive with a vapor tracer for TNT and TNB. "Coalition forces also reported that anti-coalition propaganda continues to be broadcast at the mosque -- propaganda urging Iraqis to engage coalition forces," Kimmitt said.
May 4 was a relatively quiet day in the western zone of operations, particularly in Fallujah, where there were no cease-fire violations, the general noted. He said cooperation with the Iraqi forces there was encouraging as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps troops assumed joint responsibility alongside the U.S. Marines for the northern cordon.
"The ICDC has grown to 1,190 soldiers and the 1st Battalion Fallujah Brigade to 1,200 troops, while 750 Iraqi police are on duty," Kimmitt said. "Preparations continue for the upcoming joint patrols into the city that should demonstrate the Fallujah Brigade's true effectiveness.
In Multinational Division Central South, a coalition patrol on the eastside of the Euphrates River, near Kufa, observed five individuals unloading weapons from a van on the west side of the river. Tanks engaged and destroyed the van killing an estimated five personnel, the general noted.
Coalition forces killed about 10 enemy fighters and detained 21 suspects after conducting a raid in Karbala against anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr's militia. Kimmitt said the militia was storing weapons and operating in three locations: a hotel suspected of being a militia safe house, the former Baath Party building and the former governor's building.
The hotel and Baath Party building were cleared without incident. The governor's building was burning when coalition forces arrived. Small-arms fire erupted from the vicinity of the building.
"In Diwaniyah last night, coalition forces conducted offensive operations against the Sadr bureau to reduce the militia influence in the city and establish conditions for the return of Iraqi security forces," he said. "As coalition forces approached the objective, a vehicle engaged the unit with small-arms fire, wounding one coalition soldier. Forces returned fire, destroying the vehicle and its occupants."
A Sadr militia member was detained after coalition forces also hit the building with precision fires, then cleared it, the general said. "Coalition forces and Iraqi people will remain in the building and will continue the process of re- establishing police presence in that area of Diwaniyah," he continued.
Coalition forces then conducted a cordon and search of a school across from the Sadr building suspected of having a weapons cache on its grounds. Coalition forces confiscated one 60 mm mortar, 10 RPG and 20 60 mm rounds found hidden within a makeshift wall in the school, Kimmitt noted.
While trying to stop an ongoing hijacking near Basra in the southeastern zone, a coalition patrol was attacked with small-arms fire, Kimmitt said. One hijacker was arrested. "The other hijackers in the vehicle opened fire on the coalition forces, but there were no coalition casualties sustained," he noted.