Fighting Terrorists Prevents Attacks on U.S., General Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2005 By combating terrorists in Iraq, the U.S. military is helping to prevent another terror attack on American soil, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters at a Baghdad news conference today.
Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch pointed to today's terrorist bombing of a passenger bus in Baghdad that killed almost 30 Iraqis as a key rationale for American forces to be in Iraq. Lynch is a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq.
"Think about what happened today," Lynch said, noting that innocent civilians, including children, were on that bus when the suicide bomber detonated the bomb.
"We want to defeat the terrorists here in Iraq," Lynch said, "so similar events don't happen in London, in Washington, back in our hometowns."
Lynch provided an update on current Iraq military operations with a week remaining until Dec. 15 voting to select new Iraq national assembly members.
"We believe our operations continue to isolate the insurgents," Lynch said, "and we'll continue to focus these operations to defeat the terrorists and foreign fighters and to disrupt the insurgency."
Foreign terrorists, who conduct 95 percent of the suicide bomb attacks in Iraq, have been ejected from the western Euphrates River Valley, Lynch said, as the result of recent combined military operations featuring U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces.
"We found that the terrorists and foreign fighters, when attacked, tend to run away if they weren't killed or captured," Lynch said, noting some terrorists escaped over the border into Syria.
Now those displaced foreign fighters and other terrorists have shifted their operations to the center of Iraq, Lynch said. That's why, he said, anti-terrorist operations continue in the Ramadi and Fallujah areas.
In fact, six separate offensives have been conducted against insurgents in the Ramadi area over the past two weeks, Lynch said. Nearly 80 suspected terrorists were detained during those operations, Lynch said, and 28 improvised explosive devices and 20 weapons caches were discovered.
Terrorists had intimidated the people in the Ramadi area not to participate in the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum, Lynch said. Those terrorists, he said, are now in jail.
"The objective is an environment on the 15th of December so the people of Ramadi participate in the election," Lynch said, "and be part of voting for a new Iraq."