Mortar Attack Kills 2 Soldiers; Raids Continue to Get Results
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2004 Two U.S. soldiers were killed and another was injured in a Jan. 21 mortar and rocket attack on a 4th Infantry Division base near Baqubah, Iraq.
The wounded soldier was treated immediately and was evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, according to a Combined Joint Task Force 7 news release. The soldier was reported to be in critical, but stable, condition.
Officials are withholding the soldiers' names until their families are notified.
At a coalition press conference in Baghdad today, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for CJTF 7, updated recent military activity in Iraq. Kimmitt.
The past week has seen an average of 18 daily engagements against coalition military forces, just over two attacks daily against Iraqi security forces, and just over one attack daily against Iraqi civilians, Kimmitt told reporters.
In the 24 hours leading up to the 9 a.m. EST press briefing, the coalition conducted 1,492 patrols, 29 offensive operations and 15 raids, and captured 105 anti-coalition suspects, the general said.
Coalition and Iraqi security forces in the north conducted 196 patrols, and conducted a neighborhood engagement in Mosul. They searched 105 homes and confiscated a number of illegal weapons, Kimmitt said.
Forces conducted a cordon-and-search operation at a house in western Mosul and detained their primary target, the general said. That person, Sima Fakhri Hamid al-Talir, is believed to be the facilitator for suspected suicide bombers in the Mosul region.
In the north-central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 184 patrols and eight raids, and captured 31 suspects. In a raid near Abu Saida, coalition forces targeted four people responsible for a series of rocket-propelled grenade attacks on coalition forces. The raid resulted in the capture of two targets: Ahmed Jamil Mohammed, a member of the Jaburi tribe, and Ayuh Khalil Abrahim, a member of the Ghalali tribe.
Coalition forces found 10 people digging up a weapons cache on a roadside near Bahia, Kimmitt said. The group attacked the convoy, and coalition forces returned fire, capturing two of the individuals. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps has the site secured and is recovering the weapons, the general said.
Working independently in the village of Jazra at Maklaq, ICDC soldiers raided a building, looking for people suspected of being involved in RPG attacks against coalition forces. Two targeted individuals were captured, and soldiers located and confiscated five rocket-propelled grenades and two AK-47 assault rifles.
Coalition forces raided seven locations in Baiji, looking for members of a Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary group cell. Forces captured nine people, including three specifically targeted for suspected involvement in anti- coalition activities.
In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted eight offensive operations and 470 patrols, and captured six enemy personnel.
In the western-zone operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted eight offensive operations and 220 patrols, cleared three weapons caches, captured 13 personnel and denied entry to 37 people at Trebil and one at Husaybah, all because they lacked passports.
Coalition forces in Usafiyah captured two brothers suspected of killing Iraqis who have cooperated with coalition forces.
At the Arar border-crossing site operated by Iraqi border police and customs personnel, 2,400 pilgrims and 54 buses crossed the border en route to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia in the 24 hours before today's press briefing, Kimmitt said. A total of 5,255 pilgrims and 155 buses have entered Saudi Arabia so far from Iraq's western zone of operations to celebrate the hajj the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim is expected to make at least once.
In the central-south zone, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 91 patrols, captured 13 suspects and escorted 31 convoys. A coalition patrol detained 38 illegal persons and three minibuses at the border-crossing point 20 kilometers north of Badrah City. The illegal persons were deported to Iran, and the vehicles and drivers were handed over to the border police.
In the southeast zone of operations, 2,500 pilgrims crossed the border Jan. 21. Some 5,000 remain at a camp at Safwan, and the hajj committee has requested doubling the number of daily flights to get the backlog cleared, Kimmitt said.
Coalition forces hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the second phase of the Mosul Regional Confinement Center. The current class of corrections officers and prison guards graduated in conjunction with the opening ceremony, Kimmitt said.
Kimmitt said 669 candidates will graduate from two Iraqi Civil Defense Corps academies in the Baghdad region Jan. 23. This will bring the total number of ICDC soldiers in Baghdad to more than 3,300, he added. Meanwhile, with 192 ICDC personnel having graduated in Diyala, ICDC soldiers in the northern region now total 3,700.
Civil Affairs teams met with coalition and municipal leaders to discuss methods to improve the water quality in Tash. Deterioration of water system infrastructure, Kimmitt said, has forced some citizens to get their water from local irrigation canals. Teams are developing quick-impact and long-term projects to provide potable water to the community, at a cost of $64,000, Kimmitt said.