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Joint U.S.-Iraqi Security Operations Fighting Terrorists in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2005 – Iraqi security forces, backed by U.S. troops, have seized the offensive in a series of ongoing counterterrorism operations in Iraq, according to U.S. military officials.

Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines from Regimental Combat Team 2 destroyed three car bombs while conducting cordon-and-search operations in the western Iraqi city of Haqliniyah today.

The soldiers and Marines are participating in Operation Quick Strike. They acted on a tip from a local citizen, officials said. The citizen reportedly informed the Marines that three parked vehicles were laden with explosives and ready to be used as car bombs.

Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines secured the area and shot the vehicles with main tank-gun rounds, destroying all three vehicles and setting off secondary explosions, officials said.

The soldiers and Marines also discovered two weapons caches in caves outside of Haqliniyah today. The caves are near the Euphrates River bank and several hundred meters apart. According to the Marines, they are only large enough to hide a person and a small cache.

The first cave reportedly was found at 9:00 a.m. It contained a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, medium machine gun, several assault rifles, and bomb-making material, the Marines said. The second cave contained 155 mm artillery rounds and a propane tank -- items, they noted, that are commonly used for bomb construction.

The Marines detained 24 suspected terrorists for questioning.

Also during Operation Quick Strike today, Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines discovered two roadside bombs buried alongside the main road south of Haditha. An EOD team safely detonated the bombs without suffering any casualties or damage, officials said.

Operation Quick Strike is designed to interdict and disrupt terrorist operations in western Iraq, near the cities of Haditha, Haqliniyah, and Barwanah. According to the Marines, intelligence gathered by coalition forces during recent operations confirms that terrorists are operating in these cities and in surrounding areas.

Civilian services, such as water and power, are not being disrupted because of Operation Quick Strike, the Marines said.

A joint U.S-Iraqi raid in Sharmiyah Aug. 5 resulted in the capture of 39 suspected terrorists, including some key local terrorist leaders. Eight of the 39 terrorist suspects were detained at the Mudjaherin al Ansar mosque by a specially trained Iraqi Police unit. The mosque was not damaged in the operation, officials said.

The remaining 31 terrorist suspects were detained during a cordon-and-knock operation by U.S. soldiers from the 150th Engineer Battalion, 155th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The 155th BCT is a U.S. Army unit assigned to the 2nd MEF (Forward) for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 155th BCT also recently seized and destroyed munitions from two weapons caches identified by Iraqi police, officials said. The Soldiers also detained three suspected terrorists. Among the seized and destroyed munitions: 1,427 artillery rounds, 50 37 mm anti-aircraft rounds, two 107 mm rockets, and two mortar rounds.

Similarly, in Bauqbah Aug. 5, Iraqi security forces neutralized five improvised explosive devices. One of the IEDs was identified by Iraqi army soldiers, who immediately secured the area. An Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team then destroyed the IED.

Iraqi Police discovered the remaining four IEDs. These IEDs, made from 155 mm artillery rounds, were removed by an Iraqi EOD team and then transported to a disposal facility. No injuries or damages were reported during the operations, officials said.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad Aug. 5, Iraqi security forces reportedly detained 45 suspected terrorists during Operation Vanguard Thunder. Participating Iraqi army soldiers and police officers were assisted by elements of the 184th U.S. Infantry Regiment. Operation Vanguard Thunder is targeting 150-200 terrorist suspects. No injuries or damages were reported during these operations, officials said.

Iraqi army and Task Force Baghdad soldiers worked together to capture five terror suspects in three separate combat operations carried out in southern, western and northern Baghdad Aug. 4.

Just after 4 a.m., coalition forces on patrol saw a poster that read "Kill Americans" prominently displayed on a house in southern Baghdad. The soldiers searched the house and found weapons and a large amount of ammunition. The patrol also found shotgun shells and body armor hidden inside the house. Two occupants in the house were taken into custody for questioning.

An hour later, Iraqi soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Iraqi Army Brigade teamed up with U.S. soldiers to raid a suspected terrorist safe house in western Baghdad. After the combined patrol arrived at the house, two suspects ran out of the residence, trying to elude the soldiers and were captured.

The suspects are thought to be involved in a plot to assassinate Iraqi government officials.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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