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Iraq Coalition Forces Find Arms Caches, Continue Offense

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2003 – Coalition forces uncovered arms caches and more Iraqi civilians are beginning to work with forces to create stability in the country, said a Combined Joint Task Force 7 spokesman in Baghdad Aug 6.

Coalition forces continue offensive operations throughout Iraq to identify, locate and kill or detain Saddam Fedayeen, former regime loyalists, Baathists and their supporters. In a 24-hour period ending Aug. 6, coalition forces conducted 18 raids, 2,038 patrols and detained 130 people, Army Col. Guy Shields said.

A U.S. soldier died in an accident Aug. 5, Shields said. "We had a soldier in the Mosul area who fell from a guard tower," he said. "(The soldier) was medically evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, and he was pronounced dead last night."

Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division uncovered a large weapons cache 40 kilometers northeast of Tikrit. The cache includes 1,145 artillery rounds, 2,450 mortar rounds, 250 anti-tank rockets, two 20-foot-long undetermined missiles 60 122-millimeter rockets, and large quantities of machine gun and small-arms ammunition.

Shields gave an example of how local Iraqis in the so-called "Baathist Triangle" are cooperating with the coalition. "An Iraqi man turned himself in to the local police, claiming that Baathists had been forcing him to store weapons, and he wanted to get rid of those weapons," Shields said. While not a large cache, it's significant because "here's another local Iraqi who wants to make his country safer."

In another case, an Iraqi man turned in a rocket-propelled grenade and materials used to make improvised explosive devices. The man also turned in information on an individual who was teaching people how to make the devices.

Shields said there were 13 attacks against coalition forces throughout Iraq. He said the average is about 12 attacks per day. "A few days ago, we only had five," he said. "Some days I've seen it as high as 17 or 18.

Shields said that some attackers have been captured. "What we've done is, as the attackers have changed their tactics, as we've said before that they became more sophisticated, we have changed our tactics also," he said. "As our tactics have changed, we have found ways to defeat their attacks, which is a good thing. And we will continue to see what the enemy does, and we will continue to modify our tactics as appropriate."

Coalition forces conduct raids and operations based on "actionable intelligence," Shields said. "In most cases it is based on either we have intelligence that indicates that these individuals have conducted operations against coalition forces or are in the planning process of conducting actions against coalition forces or are supporting those actions against coalition forces.

"When we get the actionable intelligence, we need to take action, and we do," he said.

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