Roadside Bomb Injures 3, Disables Humvee in Anbar Region
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2004 Three U.S. military personnel were injured today when a roadside bomb disabled their humvee in Iraq's Anbar region, the coalition's military spokesman said at a Baghdad news conference today.
Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, Combined Joint Task Force 7's deputy operations director, said the injured were evacuated for treatment and their convoy returned to Fallujah. When attempts failed to get the damaged humvee moving after the attack, he added, it was stripped of its radios and other sensitive equipment before being abandoned for later recovery.
A March 31 car-bomb attack in Ramadi killed six civilians and wounded five others, Kimmitt said. A coalition quick-response force provided medical support to the injured, and Iraqi police secured the attack site and are leading the investigation, he added. Reports on the incident do not indicate the victims were part of any government or the coalition, the general said.
Kimmitt said the past week has seen an average of 27 engagements daily against coalition military, just under five attacks daily against Iraqi security forces and just under four attacks daily against Iraqi civilians.
"The coalition is stepping up its offensive tempo to kill or capture anti- coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi people, in response to the latest increase in violence," he said. In the 24 hours leading up to today's 9 a.m. EST news conference, he said, the coalition conducted 1,486 patrols, 19 offensive operations and eight raids, and captured 56 anti-coalition suspects. He provided the following details of recent operations:
In the northern zone of operations, coalition forces detained a former regime element member and his brother at a traffic control point near Al Hadar. A search of their residence recovered 205 machine gun rounds, two 9 mm pistols, two AK-47 assault rifles, other ammunition and electrical devices.
Because his name closely resembled that of a man targeted for capture, coalition forces detained an Iraqi man at a traffic-control point near Haman al Alil and took him into custody for questioning and identification.
Civil affairs soldiers operating in the north region received approval for a water-distribution system project for the city of Debuz.
In the north-central zone of operations, personnel at a coalition traffic- control point near Mandali detained 61 people. Eleven were determined to be liquor smugglers. The rest were illegal border-crossers. The smugglers were handed over to the Iraqi police, and the border-crossers were handed over to the Department of Border Enforcement.
In recent Operation Iron Promise operations in Baghdad, 1st Armored Division troops conducted 112 battalion-level operations and captured 218 suspects, 356 weapons, 219 artillery and rocket rounds and significant quantities of bomb- making materials.
The coalition raided a farm March 31 and captured five suspected enemies. Rifles, a machine gun, a submachine gun and assorted small-arms ammunition were confiscated. Officials believed the farm to be a bomb-making site.
Coalition forces conducting anti-mortar operations engaged three armed enemy personnel in a vehicle when their actions displayed hostile intent toward an aircraft. A coalition quick-reaction force responded to the scene and captured one wounded enemy and confiscated two 60 mm mortar tubes, nine 60 mm mortar rounds and two rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The wounded enemy is being cared for at the 31st Combat Support Hospital.
A coalition patrol in Baghdad today reported seeing an improvised explosive device explosion. Coalition forces and Iraqi police cordoned the area and began searching for secondary devices. A second IED exploded about 10 minutes after the first one. A contractor truck was damaged in the second explosion, and a contract employee received minor cuts.
In the western zone of operations, Marines conducted a March 31 raid near Ramadi to kill or capture personnel planning anti-coalition attacks. The raid was based on human intelligence, and resulted in four enemy detained.
Based on intelligence developed from previous operations, coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search operation March 31 northwest of Habbaniya. Forces detained three people and found detonation cord and three pipes prepared as improvised rocket launchers.
In the central-south zone, coalition forces and the Iraqi police service targeted a suspected anti-coalition group today in a joint cordon-and-search operation northwest of Babylon. Small-arms fire was exchanged, and four enemy personnel were wounded. No coalition forces or Iraqi police were injured. In addition to the wounded suspects, 18 people were detained, and a large weapons cache was confiscated.
In the southeastern zone, an Iraqi police unit conducting joint operations with coalition forces on March 31 stopped a vehicle east of Amarah. Iraqi police found a small quantity of explosives, two detonators and detonation cord and took the driver into custody.
Kimmitt responded to a reporter's question whether March 31 attacks in and near Fallujah that killed nine Americans represented a change in insurgents' tactics. He characterized the insurgents as representing a "very, very small minority" of the Iraqi people.
"We have not seen a significant number of new tactics," he said. "We haven't seen, quite frankly, any new bravery on the part of these cowards.
"They continue to put bombs by the side of the road to kill women and children," he continued. "They continue to shoot contractors whose only purpose is to come into a town to deliver food. They kill washwomen. These are despicable people." Coalition forces and the 200,000 members of the Iraqi security forces "are resolute in their determination to hunt them down and kill them," the general said.
Senior Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor echoed Kimmitt's portrayal of the insurgency as being the work of a "slim minority" of the Iraqi people. He said coalition officials believe the Fallujah attackers are not everyday Iraqis who are dissatisfied with the coalition's performance.
"Their grievance with us is based on the fact that we are here building a democracy for the Iraqi people, making progress on that path and getting closer and closer to June 30 (when Iraqi sovereignty turns over to the Iraqi people). And they have been engaging in attacks over the past few months, they will likely continue to engage in attacks over the next few months, and we must continue to move forward on our path, which we're doing at a very ambitious pace."
Kimmitt acknowledged that while small in numbers, the insurgents have shown staying power. "This is a cancer inside the society of Iraq that shows no indication of leaving any time soon," he said. "Although small, it's a malignant cancer, and we need to take care of this together with the people of Iraq, the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces, because unless it is dealt with, it does have the chance and does have the possibility of getting larger."