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Operation River Gate Begins in Iraq's Euphrates Valley

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2005 – The 2nd Marine Division launched Operation River Gate in the cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana in Iraq Oct. 4, military officials reported.

About 2,500 Marines, soldiers and sailors from Regimental Combat Team 2 and Iraqi security forces soldiers are participating in the operation, making it the largest operation in Iraq's Anbar province this year, officials said.

The operation's goal is to deny the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network the ability to operate in the three Euphrates River Valley cities and to free the local citizens from the insurgents' campaign of murder and intimidation, a 2nd Marine Division statement said.

Haditha is an important crossroads for al Qaeda in Iraq's smuggling activities from the Syrian border, officials said. Once in Haditha, smugglers can go north to Mosul or continue on to Ramadi, Fallujah or Baghdad. The city is home to about 75,000 Iraqis, a vital hydroelectric power plant and 28 schools.

In other news from Iraq, Task Force Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi security forces netted 11 suspected terrorists Oct. 3 through today.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, conducted a cordon and search in east Rashid today, killing one terrorist and wounding another. Two suspected terrorists were also detained.

In another operation, elements of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, conducted cordon-and-search operations at various locations in Bayaa and detained nine suspected terrorists early today. Three of the nine detainees are wanted members of an improvised explosive device cell, officials said.

A would-be roadside bomb emplacement team became victims of their own device on the night of Oct. 3 in southern Baghdad.

Terrorists driving a car were en route to place an IED when it detonated prematurely. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, investigated the explosion and discovered a small truck at the site of the explosion along with scattered explosive devices. The terrorists responsible had already fled the area.

Elsewhere, U.S. soldiers, responding to an Iraqi citizen's tip, foiled a potential terrorist car bomb attack near an elementary school in western Baghdad Oct. 3.

At 2 p.m., an Iraqi citizen reported a possible car bomb 20 yards from an elementary school. The man said the car had been parked there with its hood up since 11:30 a.m. He added that the driver exited the vehicle after parking it and was picked up by another car, which then drove away.

An explosives ordnance disposal team investigated and found a mortar round, four tank rounds, a propane tank and a radio-controlled detonation device wired to the car's antenna. The soldiers safely detonated the bomb.

In other combat operations Oct. 3, Task Force Baghdad soldiers captured four suspected roadside bombers and found four weapons caches in different areas of Baghdad.

U.S. soldiers from 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, stopped a suspicious-looking vehicle while manning a traffic control point at around 3 p.m. in southern Baghdad.

When the soldiers searched the vehicle, they found TNT and blue and white wires often used to detonate IEDs in the trunk. The four occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody for questioning.

Coalition forces found the four weapons caches hidden in various areas of Baghdad. The caches contained 29 mortar rounds and a mortar tripod, nine rockets, a bag of TNT with wires running from it, a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher and four RPGs, four machine guns, four AK-47 rifles and nearly 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

The soldiers also found terrorist propaganda and paraphernalia at one of the cache sites.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and 2nd Marine Division news releases.)

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Multinational Force Iraq
2nd Marine Division

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