Joint Operation Targets Insurgents in Baghdad
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2004 U.S. soldiers of Task Force Baghdad, in conjunction with Iraqi intervention forces, are conducting security operations in eastern Baghdad targeting pockets of insurgents and terrorists, a Multinational Force Iraq news release said.
Besides ground troops patrolling the troubled eastern neighborhoods, this joint operation has included limited precision fire from air strikes over the past two days to engage insurgent crew-served weapon teams.
"The intent is to provide security for the people of Thawra so we can get back to the business of reconstruction," 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli said.
In other areas of Baghdad, Iraqi National Guard troops and Task Force Baghdad soldiers conducted raids on suspected insurgent weapons caches on Sept. 21.
In an eight-hour timeframe, these raids netted six 155 mm artillery shells and the packing material for an additional 11 shells. Eleven suspected terrorists were also detained in the raids.
Chiarelli recently commented on the violence in Baghdad and the efforts the Multinational Forces are making to improve the security situation.
"If I can have peace today, I have enough money to do all the major work in Baghdad," Chiarelli said. "We can do so much to turn around the deplorable conditions in many portions of the city."
While improvements are being made to Baghdad's infrastructure, Iraqi security forces are working alongside 1st Cavalry Division soldiers to ensure stability is maintained in dangerous areas of the city, such as the Thawra section. Chiarelli said he believes the Iraqi security forces are continually improving and getting stronger, but he stressed that the residents of Baghdad could play a part in improving the security situation.
"Every tip they give us, every time they identify for us an (improvised explosive device), a mortar or a (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device), or a vehicle that they suspect, they make the security in Baghdad just a little bit better," Chiarelli said.
Recent violence in Thawra, Haifa Street, and in other areas of Baghdad has caused concern about whether the 1st Cavalry Division can continue to focus on providing assistance for civil military projects.
As the security situation improves, projects to improve the city's infrastructure, including water, sewer, trash and electricity services, can continue unhindered, Chiarelli said. A project for a new sewer system in the southern area of Thawra will begin this week.