Strikes, Operations Help Forces Regain Control
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2004 Multinational Force Iraq worked to eliminate insurgents with two precision strikes near Fallujah today. Meanwhile, other operations got under way in Tal Afar and Samarra.
"Clear and compelling intelligence" from several Iraqi sources led to a precision strike on a confirmed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi operating location in northern Fallujah shortly after 2 a.m. today, officials said. The target was a building frequently used by terrorists, they added.
Three Zarqawi associates were reported to be in the area, but no other people were present at the time of the strike, officials said. Terrorists of the fugitive Jordanian terrorist's network, military officials added, have been responsible for multiple acts of terror including the killing of innocent Iraqi citizens, Iraqi police and Iraqi security forces, as well as multinational forces.
"The cooperation of the Iraqi people that led to this and other precision strikes continues to break apart the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network and deny foreign fighter support and safe havens," a Multinational Force Iraq news release said.
Multinational forces also conducted a precision strike Sept. 8 on an anti-Iraqi force command-and-control headquarters that has recently been coordinating attacks against MNF-I forces, another news release reported.
"Multiple sources of intelligence were used to confirm the presence of the enemy forces, and great care was taken to minimize the risks to noncombatants through careful study of the target and multiple reconfirmations of the intelligence gathered in relation to it," the release said.
According to the release, initial assessments indicate there were no noncombatant casualties. The release said enemy casualties could not yet be confirmed.
Elsewhere, multinational forces and Iraqi security forces have begun operations to restore control of Tal Afar to legitimate Iraqi government officials. The operation comes after both forces and Iraqi civilians were repeatedly attacked by a large terrorist element that has displaced local Iraqi security forces throughout the recent weeks.
The enemy attacks have used rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms fire, mortars and roadside bombs, and have resulted in civilian casualties, officials said. "Many Iraqi families have been forced from their homes under threat by these terrorists," an MNF-I news release said.
Nineveh province's Gov. Duraid Kashmoula has been working with sheikhs and local leaders in the area to bring about peace and stability to the city, U.S. military officials said. However, attempts at a peaceful solution have failed, resulting in the decision by local Iraqi leaders to initiate operations to free Tal Afar of the terrorists and to restore order, they added. "Operations will continue in the city until the threat has been eliminated and the citizens of Tal Afar can return to their homes in safety and security," an MNF-I news release said.
Samarra was the second site of an operation pairing Iraqi security forces with multinational forces to reseat the city council leadership and conduct an assessment of the police stations, another news release said.
In a city council meeting today, a decision was made to elect an interim mayor and acting police chief of Samarra until elections are set.
Iraqi security forces and multinational forces will man joint traffic control points within the city and, as a sign of good faith, will open the Samarra Bridge to reduced civilian traffic, officials said.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)