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U.S. Troops, Iraqi Police Find Illegal Weapons, Other Items

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2005 – Iraqi citizens can own an AK-47 assault rifle as long as it's registered, but it's not legal for Iraqis to maintain an armory full of bombs, sniper rifles, and other deadly items that terrorists could used.

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Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, confirm locations of buildings to be searched in Mufrek, Iraq, during Operation Centaur Showdown on Feb. 8. The operation was conducted with Iraqi policemen and soldiers working alongside each other searching for unregistered weapons and illegal bomb-making materials. Photo by Sgt. Matthew Acosta, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers with Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery teamed up Feb. 8, knocking on the doors of 100 homes in Mufrek, Iraq, a suburb of Baqubah, to look for unregistered weapons and other illegal items as part of efforts to discourage enemy activity in the area.

The raid, called Operation Centaur Showdown, produced more than 65 unregistered weapons, to include two sniper rifles and a complete set of ballistic body armor.

"Legally, its OK to have one AK-47 and one full magazine per household as long as it's a registered weapon," explained Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Loy, platoon sergeant, Brigade Reconnaissance Team, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. "But, what we're looking for are unregistered weapons, bomb-making materials, explosives or anything the every day civilian shouldn't have."

Iraqi civilians who want to own an AK-47 are required to register it with the local Iraqi police, Loy noted. They need to bring their personal identification documents and weapon to their local police station, he said, so the serial number can be recorded and matched to the identity of the owner.

The Americans say they work closely with Iraqis during these searches, teaching the policemen how to find weapons and other illegal items.

It's sensible that Iraqi police participate in the searches, said 1st Lt. Christian Boggiano, the recon team's platoon leader, , since the Iraqis know their neighborhoods and can talk with homeowners.

Weapons discovered during the Mufrek search operation were taken to local police stations to be held until the owners come to register the weapons. Registered AK-47s will be returned to owners. If the weapons are not properly registered, they will be given to the Iraqi Army.

(Based on an article written by Sgt. Matthew Acosta, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Iraqi policeman searches the closet of an Iraqi civilian in the town of Mufrek, Iraq, Feb. 8. His action was part of a raid conducted with elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. That operation yielded a find of 62 AK-47 assault rifles, three pistols, two sniper rifles and one set of ballistic body armor. Photo by Sgt. Matthew Acosta, USA  
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