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Iraqi Civilian Life Not Disrupted by 'Operation New Market'

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2005 – Marines, sailors, and Iraqi security forces are capturing and detaining terrorists throughout the Iraqi city of Haditha. However, officials said, for ordinary Iraqis, life there continues essentially unchanged.

Indeed, U.S. military officials in Baghdad reported, no essential civilian services have been disrupted as a result of Operation New Market. Water and power services apparently have not been affected. Hospital services, though, are still degraded due to a May 8 suicide car-bomb attack.

U.S. Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, and Iraqi security forces working in tandem initiated Operation New Market on May 24. The intent, officials said, is to keep terrorists on the run and on the defensive. Operation Matador, they noted, took place May 7-14 in western Iraq. Operation New Market is a continuation of that earlier effort.

The troops have since killed 14 terrorists while detaining more than 30 terrorist suspects. Routine patrols have unveiled four machine guns in a neighborhood school and numerous weapons caches, including 313 mortar rounds, two 155 mm artillery rounds, five machine guns, and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and ammunition.

Regimental Combat Team 2 initiated a precision air strike on May 26 against terrorists who were firing at them from an occupied building. One laser-guided bomb was dropped on the building, leveling it to rubble and killing the terrorists inside.

In other news from Iraq, a U.S. Marine assigned to 2nd Force Service Support Group (Forward), 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed when the vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device about six miles from Haqlaniyah May 28.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In western Anbar province, Marines and Iraqi Security Forces returned to a safe house in Ubaydi an Iraqi man whom foreign fighters had taken hostage and tortured.

Out of concern for his safety, the man asked not be identified. He had been severely beaten, and military doctors treated him for his wounds.

Officials say coalition and Iraqi security forces are working diligently to end the campaign of intimidation that is being waged against the people of Iraq, especially the hard-hit citizens of Anbar province.

Elsewhere, a suspected weapons smuggler detained by troops from Task Force Liberty led soldiers to a pair of hidden caches near Tuz May 28, officials said. Soldiers from the 278th Regimental Combat Team then reportedly recovered 75 60 mm mortar rounds, two 81 mm mortar rounds, two mortar tubes, one rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, 17 RPG rounds, and five anti-tank mines.

The suspected weapons smuggler reportedly was detained after being found May 27 with another suspected weapons smuggler. Officials said the two individuals were sitting on a donkey outside of Tuz, in the Diyala province. They were said to be in possession of weapons and materials used to make IEDs.

Two mortar tubes, two RPG anti-tank rounds, four mines, and a large number of devices used to trigger IEDs were packed onto the donkey, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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