4th ID Commander Reports Iraqis Providing Information, Attacks Lessening
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 25, 2003 The July 22 deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay at the hands of U.S. forces who were tipped of by an Iraqi citizen is bringing forth intelligence information that has led to weapons seizures and the arrests of Saddam loyalists.
During a video-teleconference briefing from Tikrit, Iraq, Army Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno told Pentagon reporters that recent tips from Iraqis have led to the discovery of several large caches of weapons and the detention of what may prove to be some of Saddam's personal security detachment.
Odierno said that in the past 24 hours his soldiers visited five separate cache sites and have detained or killed at least 60 Iraqi subversives.
The more Iraqi citizens feel coalition forces will act on their tips, the more likely they are to come forward, the general explained.
Last night, for example, an Iraqi came into one of the unit's brigade headquarters and gave the location of a cache of weapons buried near a house near Samarra, Odierno said.
There, soldiers using mine detectors found a container with 10 AK 47s, 34 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 150 RPG rounds, 80,000 feet of detonation cord, 45,000 sticks of dynamite, 11 improvised explosive devices, 33 SA-7 launchers, and 28 submachine guns.
Odierno said another Iraqi informant provided information that led to a raid on a house south of Tikrit in which 13 individuals were detained, some of whom are believed to be from Hussein's personal security detachment.
Meanwhile, Odierno noted, attacks against his troops have lessened over the past two months. Asked to quantify that downturn, he cited a 50 percent decrease.
"We've detained an awful lot of people," he said, noting that over the last 30 days the units have arrested more than 1,000 individuals. "I think we've taken a lot of the middle managers. So, they had to cut down the number of attacks. I believe we were cutting into the number of people that were available to make those attacks."
Odierno said that over the pasts two months 4th ID soldiers have conducted search and attack missions and presence patrols to defeat and disarm remnants of the former regime who are responsible for attacks on American troops. "These efforts have been highly successful, producing a stabilizing effect throughout the region," he said.
One such assault, "Operation Ivy Serpent," which concluded last week, led to the capture of 52 "mid-level" Baathist members, he said.
The operation also netted $100,000 and 38 million dinars, money that he Odierno said he suspects was being used to finance attacks against U.S. and coalition troops. The operation also netted more that 250 AK-47 assault rifles, over 1,000 RPG rounds, 3,000 mortar rounds, and 2,700 pounds of C-4 explosives.
Odierno reported that his unit continues to work to better Iraq through several civil service projects throughout the country. He noted that such projects have included the repair of 27 hospitals and 174 health clinics. In addition, 11 schools have been rebuilt, and 35 more are currently under construction. Five water treatment plants in major cities are also undergoing repairs.
As for the duration of the 4th ID's stay, the general said, "Undoing 35 years of repression and tyranny will not be quick or easy, but it is the right thing to do. In support of this long-term effort, I believe the division will be here about a year. If conditions are met that allow (return of forces sooner), it might not be that long. But all of our soldiers and family members are planning on being here for a year, and we all understand the commitment that we must have in order to accomplish the mission.
"The road ahead will be challenging," he added. "But our soldiers are professionals. They will persevere and complete this continuing mission with the same motivation and dedication they have displayed since the beginning of this operation."