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Troops Continue Forward Steps in Iraq War

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2004 – The hands-on work of patrols, raids and picking up targeted individuals continues in Iraq.

Coalition forces are taking the fight to the enemy and responding to enemy challenges, according to news releases on recent coalition activity. Coalition troops are also benefiting from increased intelligence from local people.

During the last 24 hours, the coalition reported that soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division conducted 261 patrols including 18 joint patrols cleared two small caches and carried out three offensive operations in the Anbar province area of security. Iraqi Civil Defense Corps forces also conducted 17 independent patrols.

Early Feb. 7, soldiers conducted a cordon and search in Khalidiyah to kill or capture members of the Kharbit clan, suspected of facilitating anti-coalition force movement and action. The operation resulted in the capture of eight enemy personnel, including four primary targets.

Also that morning, soldiers conducted a cordon and search in Husaybah to clear a suspected cache. They confiscated nine grenades, two mine fuses and one AK-47, and captured three people.

Members of 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, under Task Force Olympia, recovered weapons and explosive devices in northern Iraq, according to a coalition news release.

Reported also were 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, soldiers conducting a cordon-and-knock operation in Mosul and detaining a suspect wanted for anti-coalition activities.

On Feb. 6, a mounted patrol killed an attacker who fired on it with a rocket-propelled grenade along a highway northwest of Khalidiyah.

In Samarra that day, a patrol of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor, a part of the 4th Infantry Division, returned fire after it came under attack. The patrol was in the area to check out a report of an improvised explosive device. Three attackers in a truck fired rocket-propelled grenades at the soldiers, and then sped off.

No coalition troops were injured in the incident. One wounded Iraqi civilian was treated at a nearby hospital.

The patrol radioed a description of the vehicle, and another 66th Armor unit from the battalion spotted it. "The driver attempted to escape at a high rate of speed as soldiers fired warning shots and two other men jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot," according to a 4th Infantry Division release.

"When the driver refused to stop soldiers used a Bradley fighting vehicle's 25 mm cannon to disable it. The driver was wounded as a result. The wounded attacker was brought to Samarra hospital for treatment. Soldiers continued to search the area for the two men. They were captured a short distance away."

A local Iraqi told the troops he saw the men drop off what appeared to be weapons, and he led the soldiers to the cache. Soldiers confiscated one RPK machine gun, one AK-47 assault rifle, four RPG launchers and three RPGs.

Also in the 4th Infantry's area, Ali Knowar Salah, a former regime major general wanted for questioning by coalition forces, turned himself in to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, Feb. 6. Coalition soldiers had attempted to capture Salah in a previous raid.

In the area of operations of 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, a source led U.S. forces to a cache along the Euphrates River east of Habbaniyah. At the site, they discovered one 60 mm mortar, eight 60 mm mortar rounds, five RPG rounds, and two hand grenades.

Division soldiers also received mortar fire in eastern Ramadi. An Air Force plane located the origin of the attack and directed a nearby patrol to the site. U.S ground forces captured three enemy personnel, one 82 mm mortar system, and 17 82 mm mortar rounds.

Northwest of Khalidiyah, soldiers conducted a search of a target house to find weapons or ammunition. There, they captured Yaseen Abed Mukhalif, a former Iraqi Intelligence Service officer suspected of supporting anti-coalition actions in the area. Soldiers also captured Mukhalif's brother, and both are in a detention facility.

On Feb. 6, paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted a cordon and search northeast of Fallujah. The soldiers were searching for Khalil Daham Sereh, suspected of receiving, transporting and emplacing large quantities of improvised explosive device-making materials.

The operation resulted in the capture of three enemy personnel - although none was the primary target. The soldiers also confiscated four AK-47s, two bolt-action rifles, one RPG-7 manual, one electrical timer and handwritten anti-coalition messages.

Paratroopers also conducted a cordon and search south of Nassir Wa Al Salaam to kill or capture Tahlib Skair Aswad, a mortar cell leader believed to be responsible for attacks against the Abu Ghurayb prison. They captured him and two others along with two AK-47s and seven AK-47 magazines.

In the Iraq's far west sector, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldiers conducted a cordon and search in Husaybah to kill or capture four named individuals believed to finance foreign fighters. They captured five enemy personnel, including one of the four primary targets. They also confiscated a computer and documents.

In the northern part of the country, members of the Coalition for Iraqi Unity, a concerned group of citizens, came to the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, and turned in one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 131 RPG warheads, 21 boosters, 718 12.7 mm rounds, 51 hand grenades, one 60 mm mortar round, one 52 mm mortar round, two cases of 14.5 mm ammunition, a radio, 213 82 mm mortar rounds, one RPG night vision device, 500 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, 550 rounds of 14.5 mm ammunition and one 100 mm high-explosive round.

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