New Iraq Offensive Kicks Off; Five Terrorists Killed
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2007 Coalition and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive, called Operation Iron Hammer, across four northern Iraqi provinces today, while five terrorists were killed and 30 others were captured in separate actions in the central and northern parts of the country, military officials said.
Operation Iron Hammer involves three U.S. brigade combat teams and three Iraqi army divisions. It is designed to exploit previous successes against al Qaeda and set the conditions for continued reconciliation efforts in key northern provinces, U.S. officials said.
“This operation is a relentless pursuit of al Qaeda, who we have seen attempting to move into new areas and disrupt the security of the local populace,” said Army Brig. Gen. Jim Boozer, one of the U.S. deputy commanders involved in the operation. “Our intent is to continue to pressure this group, disrupt their operations and deny them safe havens in the region. We want to ensure the citizens of Iraq have the opportunity to step up and continue to secure their neighborhoods and get their cities back to normal.”
In operations today:
-- Coalition forces killed five terrorists and detained 30 suspects during operations to disrupt al Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq.
-- During anti-al Qaeda operations northwest of Baqouba, coalition forces killed three terrorists, one of whom was wearing a suicide vest. As the ground force secured the area, they discovered multiple grenades, small-arms weapons and ammunition. Coalition forces also detained two suspects.
-- Coalition forces killed two al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists during an operation in Tarmiyah.
-- In Kirkuk, coalition forces captured an individual with al Qaeda ties.
-- Coalition forces north of Tikrit captured two wanted individuals linked to al Qaeda. Coalition forces also detained six suspects during these operations.
-- Coalition forces captured 10 suspects during an operation in Mosul.
-- West of Tarmiyah, coalition forces detained two people with links to al Qaeda operations. “We are continuing a steady drumbeat against al Qaeda’s leadership,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “Our operations are diminishing terrorists’ ability to attack the Iraqi people.”
Yesterday, Iraqi police and U.S. military advisors captured an alleged extremist bomber and two other suspects in Ramadi. No Iraqi or U.S. forces were injured during the operation.
In Nov. 3 operations:
-- Iraqi security forces accompanied by U.S. advisors detained 22 suspected extremists during a raid in Kubaysah and another operation near Taji.
-- Iraqi soldiers captured six suspected extremists and found two weapons caches in the Zafaraniya neighborhood of eastern Baghdad. Items confiscated included one sniper rifle with 200 rounds of ammunition, one rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, two rocket-propelled heat rounds, 19 grenades, one AK-47 rifle, one 12-inch blade, and three 100-round belts of ammunition. Other items recovered included seven identification cards, two handheld radios, one radio charger, and one Iraqi army uniform.
-- Iraqi security forces seized three terrorists and a weapons cache in the Rashad area of Kirkuk province. Coalition assets provided close-air support and a team of advisors. The cache contained several AK-47 rifles, pistols, and materials used to make improvised explosive devices.
In Nov. 2 operations:
-- U.S. troops found two separate weapons caches during operations in Baghdad’s Arab Jabour neighborhood. One weapons cache contained 50 82 mm mortars, a 4-pound bag of homemade explosives, and 400 anti-aircraft artillery rounds. The other cache consisted of 10 anti-personnel mines, eight pounds of explosives, and three rocket-propelled-grenade launchers. Both caches were destroyed.
-- Iraqi soldiers with U.S. advisors detained 81 suspects and discovered a large weapons cache during an operation near Suwayrah. The weapons cache contained 42 120 mm mortar rounds, 10 152 mm mortar rounds, 10 anti-tank rounds, 15 kilograms of high explosives, 25 rocket-propelled grenades, and 61 recoilless-rifle rounds. Three Iraqi soldiers were injured during the operation.
-- Coalition forces found an alleged terrorist detention facility and several weapons caches during an operation designed to disrupt al Qaeda and foreign terrorists operating in the western-Samarra area. The ground forces found anti-aircraft weaponry, 12 AK-47 rifles, 18 mortar tubes, 37 mortar rounds, four rocket-propelled grenades, 96 fuses, and eight launchers. Hygiene kits, propane tanks, lanterns, blankets and a space heater also were confiscated. The contraband materials were destroyed.
“There is no place al Qaeda in Iraq can hide where we won’t find them and their weapons of terror,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “Iraqi and coalition forces will continue to root out al Qaeda, securing a safer future for the people of Iraq.”
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)