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Small-Arms Fire Claims Marine's Life; Iraqi Soldiers Disrupting Enemy

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2005 – A U.S. Marine was killed by small-arms fire in Ramadi, Iraq, Dec. 18, military officials announced today.

The name of the deceased, assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other news, soldiers from three Iraqi battalions kicked off a cordon-and-knock operation, called Operation Moonlight, east of Ubaydi today. The operation is aimed at disrupting insurgent activities along the Euphrates River, officials said. Operation Moonlight participants include soldiers from 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, backed up by U.S. troops from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).

"This is the first large-scale operation planned and executed by Iraqi soldiers of the 1st Brigade," a U.S. military spokesman noted. "The operation objective of Moonlight is to disrupt insurgent activity along the northern and southern banks of the Euphrates River near Ubaydi."

Officials pointed out that the eastern Qaim region, including the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, was cleared of al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents during Operation Steel Curtain in November. "The operations enabled residents to vote in the Dec. 15 Iraqi national elections," the spokesman said.

In operations over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 50 close-air-support missions Dec. 18, including supporting coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities, Air Force officials announced today.

Air Force F-16 jets blasted a cave used by anti-Iraqi forces with precision-guided munitions near Tal Afar, officials said. In other action, 12 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. Also, U.S. Air Force and British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a non-traditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

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