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Apache Crews Protect Ground Soldiers During Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2007 – Multinational Division Baghdad helicopter crews killed four armed insurgents yesterday in northwestern Baghdad.

The team of two Apaches from 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, was providing area security for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Infantry Regiment, troops when the unit came under small-arms fire.

The encounter began when Apache pilots saw five insurgents with weapons maneuvering through alleyways. After being cleared by the ground unit, the Apache crews engaged the insurgents, killing four and wounding one.

"(Insurgents) think they can engage coalition forces and escape, but they cannot outrun the deadly effects of our Apaches," said Army Maj. Justin Hall, the aviation unit’s operations officer.

In other operations in Iraq, two F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft on Aug. 4 destroyed a rocket site being used by suspected extremists to target coalition forces in the outskirts of Diwaniyah.

According to preliminary reports, more than three members of the extremist group at the site were killed in the bombing. The aircraft also destroyed a tractor trailer truck used in the attempted rocket attack against a nearby military installation.

A local citizen called in the tip to U.S. Special Forces to report the impending attack. Upon confirmation of the rocket site, close-air support was used to eliminate the threat.

Also on Aug. 4, paratroopers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, captured eight suspected al Qaeda insurgents believed to be responsible for attacks against citizens and security forces in North Babil during an operation outside of Iskandariyah.

As part of Operation Marne Avalanche, soldiers conducted an early morning air assault and raid after receiving reports pinpointing the suspects' hideout. One of the suspects was listed as a high-value target on the brigade's most-wanted list. All are being held for questioning.

In addition to the eight detainees, pressure wire and other components used to construct improvised explosive devices were also found and were taken for use in the investigation.

"The local citizens are tired of being caught in the middle of fighting. They are tired of seeing their family and neighbors murdered and they are starting to come to us for help," said Army 2nd Lt. Thomas Murphy, a platoon leader with the unit. "I never thought I would see that, but we are here to help them. The sooner they can stand up on their own two feet, the better."

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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