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Iraqis Celebrate School Reopening, Forces Provide Aid to Citizens

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2007 – An Iraqi neighborhood north of Ramadi celebrated the reopening of its school Jan. 23, U.S. and Iraqi forces provided aid to citizens in Adhamiyah this week, and students in Tal Afar received cold weather gear from Iraqi forces Jan. 22, military officials reported.

Visiting Iraqi army soldiers and coalition forces attended the celebration for the school reopening north of Ramadi. Community leaders asked Maj. Derek Horst, civil affairs team leader with the 4th Civil Affairs Group, to cut the ribbon for the Al Haitham School, which provides classes for the Abu Jassim tribe.

The school was temporarily closed in November for renovations. Tribal leader Sheik Taher, who oversaw the renovations, led a group of community leaders and military personnel on a brief tour of the building after the ribbon cutting.

"We're making progress day after day," said 1st Lt. Stuart Barnes, civil affairs team leader with Company B, 486th Civil Affairs Battalion. Barnes said attendance at the school shows that stability in the area continues to increase.

The school, which began holding classes again earlier this month, hosts an estimated 200 to 300 students, Barnes said.

In other news, residents of the Adhamiyah section of eastern Baghdad picked up needed supplies this week following a visit by soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team and their Iraqi army counterparts.

In coordination with the Adhamiyah district council, U.S. and Iraqi troops delivered clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries to more than 500 residents in a local theater. Especially popular with the youth were soccer balls and comic books. Also, a U.S. medic treated a woman with low blood sugar.

It would have been impossible to deliver the goods without U.S.-Iraqi cooperation, according to Capt. Drew Corbin, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment.

"The Iraqi police were very helpful today," he said. "They provided security and helped distribute the humanitarian assistance bags."

The humanitarian assistance drop is part of a U.S.-Iraqi effort to reduce sectarian violence and help bring security to Baghdad.

In another operation in Tal Afar, students from the Kawla and Darar Primary schools received an assortment of winter clothing, school supplies, and additional treats from Tal Afar's Mayor Najim, Iraqi police officers, and soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, during Operation Warm-Up Jan. 22.

Mayor Najim and the delegation traveled from classroom to classroom, providing the students with winter clothing and Iraqi flags. In addition, the school headmaster at each location was provided a first-aid kit with instructions for medication.

The total items distributed included 280 items of winter clothing, 650 pencils, 250 pens, 200 erasers, 60 spiral notebooks and 30 folders. Every child received school supplies and candy.

Operation Warm-Up was a targeted mission conducted as part of the ongoing Iraqi police and coalition humanitarian assistance program Operation Kids.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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