Accident, Roadside Bomb, Gunfire Claim Six Soldiers in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2005 Six U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq in recent days, military officials reported.
A Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed when an M1 Abrams tank was involved in a single-vehicle accident Nov. 24 south of Baghdad, officials said. Also on Nov. 24, two soldiers were killed when their patrol struck a roadside bomb southwest of Baghdad.
On Nov. 23, two Task Force Baghdad soldiers died of gunshot wounds southwest of Baghdad, and a Task Force Baghdad soldier died of a gunshot wound in central Baghdad.
The soldiers' names are being withheld pending notification of their families. In other news from Iraq, Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers responded to a suicide car bomb attack in Mahmudiyah. Initial reports indicated 18 Iraqi civilians and six security guards with Force Protection Services were killed in the terrorist attack at the Mahmudiyah Hospital, and at least 30 other civilians were wounded. Four U.S. soldiers also were wounded, officials said.
Task Force Baghdad civil affairs soldiers were at the hospital conducting an assessment for upgrades to the facility when the car bomb detonated. Officials said the target appears to have been the hospital, but the terrorist was unable to penetrate the security perimeter before detonating. Initial reports indicate there was no structural damage to the hospital. Iraqi army soldiers and additional Task Force Baghdad soldiers secured the site and provided medical support.
Also on Nov. 24, a bomb exploded near a Multinational Division Central-South engineering patrol work site Nov. 24. Three division soldiers were slightly wounded and an Iraqi child was killed as a result of the blast. The incident took place near Camp Echo in Diwaniyah.
In other news from Iraq, about 200 Iraqi army soldiers and 250 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team concluded Operation Lions in the Tammim area of Ramadi on Nov. 24. The operation resulted in 20 suspected terrorists being detained, officials said.
Lions is the third in a series of disruption operations that aimed to capture or kill al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists in the Ramadi area and deny them the ability to influence the Iraqi people there, officials said. Operations Panthers and Bruins denied terrorists the ability to operate in northern Ramadi.
On Nov. 23, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, with air support from other coalition forces, destroyed a house booby-trapped with explosives. Terrorists had attacked Iraqi army soldiers with an improvised explosive device Nov. 21. U.S. soldiers with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, secured and searched the area of the attack, resulting in the discovery of the booby-trapped house, believed to be a terrorist hideout.
Soldiers secured the house and waited for an explosives ordnance disposal team to arrive on the scene to assess the situation. After EOD investigated the house and Task Force Baghdad officials ensured the surrounding area was clear of civilians, 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division, conducted an air strike on the house in coordination with 3rd Infantry Division and 18th Airborne Corps. The area was cleared, and two Air Force F-16 jets precisely guided two 500-pound bombs onto the structure and destroyed the target.
The precision-guided bombs used, better known as the GBU-38, were Joint Direct Attack Munitions, U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials said. JDAMS are especially designed to reduce collateral damage, limit unintended casualties and take the fight up close and personal to enemy insurgents, officials said.
This bomb autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates, which can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff and manually altered by the aircrew before weapon release if necessary, officials explained.
A tip from a local citizen on the location of a weapons cache in the Tissa Nissan district of eastern Baghdad resulted in the destruction of the weapons Nov 23. Elements of 1st Battalion, 64th Armor, responded to the site and discovered 31 60 mm mortar rounds and 19 120 mm mortar rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team was called to the scene and conducted a controlled detonation of the munitions.
Task Force Baghdad and Iraqi soldiers saw numerous small victories Nov. 22 over the terrorist effort in eastern Baghdad, officials said.
Around 9:30 a.m., elements of 1st Battalion, 64th Armor, discovered a roadside bomb in a pile of trash. An explosives ordnance disposal team was called to the scene and conducted a controlled detonation of the device. At noon, another roadside bomb was spotted by elements of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry. An EOD team was called to the site and transported the device to another location.
Looking for terrorist activity, elements of the Iraqi 2nd Public Order Brigade searched numerous homes in Zafaraniya as part of a joint operation with 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery.
"The POB units have gotten very comfortable with cordon-and-search missions. They acted very professionally and are pretty much operating on their own," said Capt. Jason Pelletier, commander of A Battery, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery. During the joint operation, one local resident turned over a bag of 59 hand grenades and 10 feet of explosive detonating cord.
At about 5:30 p.m., 3/7 Cavalry soldiers responded to a tip from a local citizen and secured a roadside bomb before it could be used against Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces or coalition forces. An EOD team removed the device to another location. Acting on multiple intelligence sources and tips from concerned citizens, coalition forces raided a suspected Jaysh al-Mujahideen terrorist safe house in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, Oct. 23, officials announced Nov. 24.
Captured during the raid was Ahmad Nimah Khudayyir Abbas, also known as Abu Shihab, a recently identified lieutenant in the Jaysh al-Mujahideen insurgent group, who oversaw the organization's propaganda cell and commanded several mortar and improvised explosive device cells, officials said.
Abu Shihab, officials said, recorded videos and digitized them to compact disc for distribution to various terrorist groups. These videos would then be downloaded to various jihadist Web sites as propaganda against Iraqi security and coalition forces. The videos would be used to recruit terrorists and foreign fighters, as well as to provide information on potential targets for other terrorists. As his skills and terrorist connections developed, officials said, he began directing and coordinating media operations throughout the Baghdad area for Jaysh al-Mujahideen.
In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 42 close-air-support missions Nov. 24. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities, and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Coalition aircraft also supported Iraqi and coalition ground forces operations to create a secure environment for ongoing Transitional National Assembly meetings. Twelve U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and Royal Australian Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Task Force Baghdad and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)