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Iraqi Forces Taking Lead in Fight Against Terror

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2006 – Iraqi forces are getting more results as they move into the lead in many areas of the country.

Many Iraqi units have embedded coalition trainers with them, and those units are killing or capturing more insurgents, more arms caches and shutting down more terror cells.

In Baqubah, the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division worked with U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division on coordinated offensive operations against anti-Iraqi forces today.

The Iraqi soldiers began operations targeting terror cells responsible for improvised explosive devices, sniper operations, kidnapping and murder.

"This is a great indicator of the commitment of Iraqi army officers and soldiers to protect and secure the people of the province," said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander. "These operations are intelligence-driven and target specific terrorist cells that are attempting to destabilize the government and economic growth in the province. Some individual targets are also responsible for instigating the sectarian violence in the province."

The operation seeks to eliminate the terror cells, which will allow Iraqi police to enforce the rule of law.

"This military operation is designed to separate the terrorists from the honorable people of Baqubah, and better enable the Iraqi security forces to maintain a secure and stable environment," Sutherland said.

In the eastern portion of Baghdad, Iraqi and coalition soldiers captured 12 terror suspects and uncovered an arms cache Dec. 1.

Iraqi soldiers, supported by the 3rd Battalion, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, captured a weapons cache and detained 12 terrorist suspects Dec. 1 in Narwahan.

The U.S. soldiers are part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team based at Forward Operating Base Loyalty. In the cache they discovered 10 AK-47 assault rifles, two machine guns, two mortar tubes with 70 60 mm rounds, one illumination round, five cases of 12.7 mm ammunition and 61 explosive primers.

FOB Loyalty soldiers also helped Iraqi police conduct a Dec. 2 cordon-and-clear operation in Rusafa.

The joint operation, coined "Operation Armadillo," began in the early morning hours, searching for a cell of car-bombers.

The operation -- still going on -- has uncovered one car bomb and a small weapons cache containing assorted weapons.

Iraqi Special Forces soldiers, with coalition advisors, captured a member of a terrorist cell Dec. 2 in the Jihad district of Baghdad. Officials believe the man is responsible for improvised explosive device and car-bomb attacks against Iraqi security forces within Baghdad. The terrorist cell is also allegedly involved in weapons trafficking in the Baghdad area.

Iraqi forces detained five additional suspects during the raid and confiscated several assault rifles.

Soldiers from 7th Iraqi Army Division, with coalition advisors, captured a member of an insurgent cell Dec. 2 in Tameem, south of Ramadi, who is believed to be responsible for coordinating and conducting multiple small-arms and rocket attacks against Iraqi security forces.

The terrorist cell also allegedly is responsible for producing and placing improvised explosive devices that injure and kill Iraqi civilians. The cell is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, officials said. Iraqi forces detained three additional suspects during the raid.

Units of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, with coalition advisors, captured a suspected insurgent leader during a raid Dec. 1 near Baqubah, targeting insurgents linked to al Qaeda in Iraq in Diyala province.

The detainee is suspected of leading and financing insurgents operating and conducting attacks against Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in Baqubah and throughout Diyala province. While searching for more insurgents at the objective, Iraqi forces found an insurgent armed with an assault rifle.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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