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Continuing Operations In Turki Village Net Huge Weapons Caches

Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2007 – After seven days of combined operations south of Balad Ruz, Iraq, soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, in partnership with Iraqi army troops, continue to discover large weapons caches and destroy anti-Iraqi forces throughout the Turki Village area.

“Our forces have been able to adapt to all situations, and have shown their ability to conduct intelligence-driven operations in different environments, terrain and conditions,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of the brigade combat team and the senior U.S. Army officer in the Diyala province.

Having cleared more than 200 kilometers of terrain, the 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, with support from the combat team, has unearthed about 20 caches, killed more than 85 terrorists and detained 25 suspected insurgents.

“These weapons and harmful supplies are used by terrorists against local tribes, families, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces throughout Diyala and Baghdad,” Sutherland said.

In fighting yesterday, coalition forces and Iraqi army soldiers engaged eight small insurgent elements with small-arms fire, mortars, artillery, Bradley fighting vehicles and close-air support. More than two dozen insurgents were killed as a result.

“As a result of the significant amount of force brought by the (Iraqi army) and (coalition forces) into the area, and the ability to dominate the terrain, local civilians are providing information,” said Maj. Roy H. Adams III, brigade plans officer.

The operation, which began Jan. 4 with a combined air and ground assault, continues to target insurgents believed to have tortured and executed more than 40 members of rival area tribes in November.

“We have linked this particular group of terrorists to multiple acts of violence throughout Diyala in the areas of Baqubah, Khalis, Muqdadiyah and Balad Ruz,” Sutherland said.

Since discovering more than 1,150 57mm rockets Jan. 6, the soldiers have uncovered several more caches containing bomb-making material, more than 1,000 rocket-propelled grenades, 13 anti-tank mines, more than 1,000 small-arms munitions, 1,050 heavy machine gun rounds, dozens of anti-tank missiles and other terrorist planning documents.

“The (Iraqi army) is very proactive in working with the government of Diyala to reduce access to weapons that are used against their people for fear and intimidation,” Adams said.

“By reducing their resources and bringing the terrorists to justice, the (Iraqi army) is making Diyala an area where families can participate in a free and democratic Iraq, while participating in the political process, as opposed to the terrorist process,” Sutherland added.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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