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'Iron Fist' Offensive Pummels Terrorists In Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2005 – The first day of Operation Kabda Bil Hadid, or "Iron Fist" in English, saw several successful engagements against al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating in and around Sadah, approximately 12 kilometers east of the Syrian border, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported Oct. 1.

The operation continues with a force of approximately 1,000 U.S. Marines, soldiers and sailors from Regimental Combat Team 2. Coalition forces, including helicopters from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, engaged and killed eight armed terrorists in fighting early Oct. 1, officials said.

During another engagement, terrorists drove two vehicles near a U.S. Marine position, dismounted and attacked with small-arms fire, officials said. One of the vehicles was rigged with explosives. The gun battle left four terrorists dead, and the fifth surrendered to the Marines.

In the late morning, Marines discovered and destroyed a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Sadah, officials reported. Shortly afterward, an American M1A1 tank destroyed a vehicle car bomb with one round from its main gun southwest of the city.

North of Sadah, U.S. forces killed three al Qaeda terrorists after the group attacked their checkpoint with small-arms fire, officials said.

The eighth terrorist was killed when an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter destroyed a vehicle after its driver fired on a Marine position with a rocket-propelled grenade, officials reported. Another vehicle traveling with the attacker was seen to be carrying additional RPGs and was destroyed by missile fire from the Cobra. The driver and passenger escaped the blast.

No U.S. Marine casualties have been reported.

Iron Fist's goal is to root out al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating in the region and disrupt terrorist support systems in and around Sadah, officials said.

The offensive is part of an overall operation called Sayaid, or "Hunter" in English, which is intended to deny al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq the ability to operate freely in the Euphrates River Valley. It also aims to prevent them from influencing the local population through murder and intimidation, officials said.

(Compiled from a Multinational Force Iraq press release.)

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