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Iraqi Security Forces Prove Capability

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2005 – Iraqi security forces continue to show their progress toward independence with their prevention of two terrorist attacks this week and their ongoing involvement in successful operations throughout the country, a military official in Baghdad said today.

Today, Iraqi security forces at a checkpoint in Baghdad prevented an attack by a car bomb and two suicide vest bombers, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq. Before the vehicle containing the car bomb reached the checkpoint, the soldiers recognized it as a threat and engaged it, causing the bomb to detonate prematurely, Alston said.

Two people wearing suicide bomb vests then ran toward the checkpoint, and the soldiers engaged them. One bomb vest prematurely detonated, killing the bomber, and the other bomber was wounded and his vest was removed and disarmed.

On July 9, Iraqi police thwarted a possible terrorist attack on the Kuwaiti embassy in Baghdad, Alston said. Shortly before 8 a.m., Iraqi special police guarding the embassy saw a rocket propelled grenade round placed near the building's southeast entrance, he said. An explosive ordnance disposal team was called in and safely removed the round.

These efforts by Iraqi forces are proof that their training is paying off and they are on the way to taking over the security of their country, Alston said.

"Casualties were minimized because they performed their critical jobs so well," he said. "They continue to make progress and develop their capability to provide for the defense of their country."

The progress of the security forces makes them a prime target for terrorists, he said, but despite constant attacks, people are signing up for service in large numbers.

There are 35 battalion-size operations going on every day in Iraq, and Iraqi security forces solely are running roughly 20 percent of those, Alston said. The Iraqi soldiers' presence in communities gives the citizens confidence and encourages them to give the soldiers information about weapons and insurgents, he added. Several weapons caches are discovered every week, he said, and they include items like counterfeit U.S. money, mines, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft guns, dynamite and bombs.

"All of this and more are now off the streets of Iraq thanks to the efforts of the Iraqi security forces, their coalition partners and the people of Iraq," he said.

Operations throughout Iraq continue to bring in suspected terrorists as well, and in the coming weeks and months more battlespace will be transferred to the control of the Iraqi forces, he said. The transfer of different areas will always be based on conditions and readiness of the Iraqi forces, he stressed, and the U.S. will be there for support as long as needed.

Progress is being made every day not only in the security forces, but also in the government and other areas of the country, he said. This progress, coupled with the spirit of the Iraqi people, will lead to success against the insurgents, he said.

"The people of Iraq want to bring an end to terror," he said. "They want security and stability in their lives. Our constant pressure on insurgents, the continued progress of the Iraqi security forces and the reconstruction projects that are being completed will help them achieve those aims."

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