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Iraqi Military Buys First Pair of Recon Aircraft

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2004 – The Iraqi military soon will be cleared for flight after the purchase this week of two aircraft in Jordan, coalition officials in Baghdad said today.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director of Multinational Force Iraq, told reporters today the aircraft are part of a plan to provide surveillance capability to the growing Iraqi security forces.

He said the two reconnaissance aircraft represent the first acquisitions in a planned purchase of 16 aerial observation and surveillance aircraft intended to assist in the protection of electrical and oil assets, as well as in border and coastal security. Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for mid-July, he said.

Kimmitt also reported today that 400 more detainees were released June 14 from the Abu Ghraib prison. Another 100 prisoners will be released in the next 48 hours, he said. The next release is anticipated by the end of June, he added.

In other news, Kimmitt reported that 25 Iraqi police officers began a joint FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency-sponsored criminal intelligence course. The 10-day course is the first of four that will be offered over the next two months, he said. The police officers will be trained in fighting organized crime, political corruption and terrorism, as well as in developing intelligence information and intelligence information sharing among government ministries, he added.

In the northern operational area, an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps compound near Mosul was attacked with indirect fire, leading to the injury of three Iraqi civilians, including two children. "The three were taken to a local hospital, and are in stable condition," Kimmitt said.

In Shura, the general said, 10 suspects, including three primary targets with ties to a cell believed to be responsible for terrorist activities, were arrested by coalition forces conducting offensive operations south of Hammam al Alil.

In the north-central zone of operations, Kimmitt reported, gunmen ambushed four Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers waiting for a taxi near Dululah. Two ICDC soldiers and the taxi driver suffered minor wounds and were reported to be in stable condition, Kimmitt said.

A contract convoy was attacked by a suicide car bomb June 14 in central Baghdad during morning rush hour. Kimmitt said five contractors were killed and five others were injured in the attack. He said the Ministry of Health reported that eight Iraqi civilians also were killed, and 69 other Iraqis were injured.

Coalition forces conducting a cordon-and-search operation in Baghdad seized a sizable amount of arms, ammunition and explosives June 14, the general said. Found were five rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 131 RPG rounds, two .50- caliber machine guns, seven other machine guns, 13 light anti-tank weapons, 411 blocks of C-4 explosives, 50 pounds of other types of explosives, and more than 46,000 rounds of machine-gun ammunition, Kimmitt said. The unit detained seven people, he added.

In Karbala and Najaf, 1st Armored Division soldiers are continuing operations to isolate radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia through rewards and rebuilding programs, Kimmitt said. To date, he said, over 550,000 American dollars has been paid for weapons and ammunition in those two cities.

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
1st Armored Division
Transcript of Operational Briefing

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