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Helicopters Attack Insurgents Placing Roadside Bomb in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2007 – Helicopters from Multinational Division Baghdad engaged insurgents preparing to emplace a roadside bomb south of the Iraqi capital today. Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. and coalition troops found several weapons caches in recent days.

Around 11:50 p.m. yesterday, U.S. air assets positively identified four insurgents digging on the shoulder of a road in Mahmudiyah and emplacing an improvised explosive device. Helicopters engaged the four-man insurgent team, killing two.

In other news, Iraqi and U.S. troops have found several weapons caches in recent days.

Iraqi troops and U.S. soldiers from Multinational Division Baghdad found a large military-equipment cache near an eastern Baghdad warehouse Jan. 29. Troops with the 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, discovered the cache, which included 200 pairs of military boots, 150 helmets, 150 flak vests, 75 armor plates, an improvised explosive device initiator, U.S. military field rations, and a variety of uniforms, including U.S. uniforms.

“There was enough gear in there to outfit a battalion," said Army Capt. James Ojeda, a fire support trainer with the brigade's Military Transition Team.

A few of the items were already being sold on the open market, Ojeda said, but most were still in the warehouse. The items in the market were discovered by chance when a brigade senior noncommissioned officer spotted them while returning from a combat logistics patrol. The items in the market were seized on the spot, and this led to the cordon-and-search mission, which uncovered the cache.

Ojeda gave high marks to the Iraqi troops, for both this mission and their overall performance. "They're performing well," he said. "The vast majority of missions we do are planned and executed by them, with our support."

He said this situation is different than that during his last Iraq deployment. "If you look at it compared to 2004, ... it's a huge difference," he said. "We had to hold their hand then. Now they're executing missions."

The equipment was seized to prevent uniforms and equipment from falling into insurgent hands.

In a separate mission that day, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, discovered a weapons cache consisting of 34 mortar rounds east of As Sadiya.

Iraqi security forces were conducting a patrol near Sachooch Village when the discovery was made. They were in the village after local leaders asked for increased presence by Iraqi security forces. Local officials told Iraqi military leaders of concerns about sectarian attacks and of their desire to live together as they have for centuries.

"The people have a desire to live in peace, and they have enough confidence in the (Iraqi forces) to provide assessments of areas being affected by the terrorists. The people do not want the terrorists disrupting their lives," said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, commander and senior coalition officer in Diyala province.

Elsewhere in Iraq, Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, and U.S. soldiers from 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, discovered an improvised-explosive-device cache east of Baqubah on Jan. 28. The cache consisted of electrical blasting caps, electrical connectors, a remote firing system, and four bundles of explosives.

"These resources would have been used by the terrorists to continue to wage their war against the people of Diyala," Sutherland said.

Also that day, soldiers from 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division and 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, discovered 1,500 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition while conducting operations in the Turki village area.

Earlier this week, Iraqi soldiers detained eight suspected terrorists Jan. 28 at the Karch oil facility, just northeast of Lutifiyah. After responding to small-arms fire near the oil facility, troops from 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, conducted a search. They discovered and detained eight Iraqi men with illegal weapons. One Iraqi soldier was slightly wounded in the incident.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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