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1st Marine Division Supports Iraqi Security Forces Raids

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2004 – Iraqi security forces, supported by Marines and soldiers from the 1st Marine Division began a series of raids on seven mosques in Ramadi today.

"Our participation in these raids has been limited to supporting Iraqi security forces," emphasized Brig. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, assistant division commander, as quoted in a Multinational Force Iraq news release.

The mosques are believed to be centers for a spectrum of insurgent activity, including harboring known terrorists, storing illegal weapons, promoting violence against the Iraqi people and encouraging insurgent recruitment.

The raids are an effort to search the mosques for known terrorists and insurgents already known to take advantage of mosques' protected status as well as for illegal weapons and insurgent propaganda, officials said.

An Oct. 11 incident is the latest in a rash of instances involving anti-Iraq forces operating in and around a mosque. At about 4 p.m., U.S. Marines and Iraqi National Guard members began receiving small-arms fire from the Sharqi Mosque in Hit.

Insurgents fired accurate and sustained small-arms fire that escalated to heavy machine-gun and indirect fire during the three-hour firefight at the mosque, officials said. Marines returned the small-arms and machine-gun fire until insurgents began firing mortars. At that time, Marine aviation was used to deliver precision-guided munitions to target the threat, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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