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Iraqi-American Operation Captures Terrorists, Neutralizes Car Bomb

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2005 – A recently completed joint Iraqi-American military mission, shows that Iraqi soldiers are becoming increasingly capable and exercising greater initiative and independence, U.S. military personnel in Iraq said.

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Master Sgt. Ronnie Reece, left, 2nd Lt. Steven Ackerson, center, and Capt. Jason Foote patrol a foot path during Operation Royalty Sept. 6. The soldiers from Civil Affairs Team 5, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, and 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, questioned residents of Taji, Iraq, to gain information about terrorists in the area. The operation resulted in the capture of a team of bomb makers while they were building a car bomb. Photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley, USA

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Operational Royalty resulted in the capture of a team of bomb makers Sept. 6 while they were building a car bomb to use against coalition and Iraqi forces, said Capt. Bryan Cecrle, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

The battalion had been conducting cordon-and-search operations with Iraq's 2nd Mechanized Battalion, 1st Mechanized Brigade, 9th Army Division, in a terrorist hotspot northwest of Baghdad known as the "Circle of Death," Cecrle noted.

"We've had intelligence reports of terrorist activity; plus we've had several improvised explosive devices in the area," said battalion operations officer Maj. Steve Lutsky. Iraqi and American Soldiers thus aimed to break up two terrorist cells in a village in Taji.

According to Lutsky, the operation paid off when Iraqi soldiers caught one group of terrorists modifying a car for use in a suicide attack. The terrorists, Cecrle said, didn't get to finish the job. They fled, but were soon apprehended by the Iraqi soldiers.

Cecrle said he saw the action unfold first-hand from a nearby rooftop. This success by the Iraqi soldiers, he added, reflects "an exponential growth in their capabilities."

"Every time you show them something, they grab that, take it as their own and continue on," he said. "It's amazing to watch them developing as they go."

Cecrle said he previously worked with Iraqi soldiers in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad.

"Our intent is to take that one (Iraqi army) company and to integrate them, so that we can turn the terrain over to them," Lutsky said. This company is "well on its way-as shown by the vehicle-borne IED find."

This particular IED find was huge. Explosive ordnance disposal teams found that the car contained five propane tanks, eight 130 mm high-explosive shells and a large number of anti-aircraft rounds.

All told, that's "at least 500 pounds of ordnance," said Staff Sgt. Josh Z. Liles, whose 47th Ordnance Company team destroyed the car onsite. The resultant explosion, he noted, "created a 25-foot by 15-foot crater. It was going to be a big IED that would have done some damage.

"The wheel wells were low," Liles added. "There was something pretty heavy in the trunk. If it hit a convoy, it could have destroyed at least one Humvee and killed anyone within 50 meters."

According to officials, the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division's Aviation Brigade provided air support for Operation Royalty. And soldiers with Civil Affairs Team 5, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, provided intelligence they gathered from village residents. Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, also contributed to the intel effort.

Iraqi forces have proved their metal elsewhere in Iraq, official said. For example, , coalition troops and Iraqi soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, detained a suspect during a cordon-and-knock operation today in Saqlawiyah, officials said. The suspect reportedly had someone else's Syrian identification card and was taken into custody for questioning. Again, no injuries or damages were reported.

Also in Saqlawiyah, Iraqi police reportedly detained nine terrorist suspects while seizing four cars during operations on Sept. 10. No injuries or damages were reported.

Similarly, Iraqi police apprehended two terrorists who shot at them with small-arms fire in Baghdad Sept. 10. The police reportedly returned fire, thus wounding the two terrorists, who then were detained and transported to a medical facility for treatment. No police were injured in the incident.

Iraqi police also returned fire in Mosul Sept. 10 when their station was attacked by terrorists, officials said. The police reportedly killed one terrorist and wounded another. The injured terrorists evaded capture; and no police casualties were reported.

(Based on news releases from Task Force Baghdad, Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageSpc. Billy Allen, left, and Spc. Allen Hill search a scrap pile behind a home during Operation Royalty Sept. 6 in Taji, Iraq. The battalion-sized cordon-and-search operation resulted in the capture of a team of bomb makers while they were building a car bomb to be used against coalition and Iraqi forces. Photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley, USA  
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