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Iraqi Forces Conduct Operations; Governor Survives Attempt on Life

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2006 – Iraqi soldiers and police completed the fourth day of Operation Lion's Hunt in Mosul, Iraq, today. Elsewhere, a provincial governor survived an assasination attempt.

Nearly 1,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers worked together to conduct the mission. The goal of Lion's Hunt is to introduce a strong Iraqi security force presence in the city's diverse communities and clean out pockets of terrorists hiding among law-abiding residents, U.S. officials said.

The Iraqi-planned effort has been well received in the areas searched so far, Iraqi Maj. Gen. Wathiq, provincial director of police for Ninewah province, said. He stressed the importance of building strong community relationships with the Iraqi security forces in an effort to rid Mosul and the rest of the province of terrorists.

So far, 36 known or suspected terrorists have been detained without incident during the operation.

To ensure the operation is transparent to local residents, Wathiq ensured local media were invited to accompany the mission.

A small contingent of U.S. soldiers from Task Force Band of Brother, from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, are assisting the mission by augmenting an outer security ring as Iraqi forces move to and from various neighborhoods in the city.

In other news from Iraq, the governor of Anbar province survived a homicide car-bomb attack that killed 10 civilians and injured five members of his security detail in the provincial capital city of Ramadi yesterday.

Governor Maamoon Sami Rasheed al-Awani was headed to work, escorted by his security convoy, when a homicide bomber drove a car toward his vehicle and detonated a bomb in an area crowded with cars and pedestrians, Maamoon said. The governor was not injured in the attack.

A U.S. Marine convoy responded to the attack, came under small-arms fire and returned fire, Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Salas said.

Maamoon does not know who planned the attack, which is approximately the 29th attempt on his life, he said. He also had a son kidnapped in 2005. The son was safely returned.

The governor said the attack will not dissuade him from serving the people of Anbar province. "This is a cowardly attempt, and this is not in the best interest of Anbar or the country," he said. "On the same day of the attack, I am here and am ready to work. I will continue working to serve my people, to serve the people of Anbar and Iraq."

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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