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Operation Squeeze Play Aims to Crack Down on Terrorists

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2005 – Local commanders from the Iraqi Interior and Defense ministries and coalition forces met May 21 to discuss Operation Squeeze Play, which is designed to deal with terrorist actions in Baghdad's Rusafa neighborhood.

"This is just the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the Iraqi police, public-order brigades and the Iraqi army. From now on, forces from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and coalition forces will work together to defeat the terrorists in Baghdad," U.S. Army Col. Joseph DiSalvo, commander of coalition forces in the eastern Baghdad area, said to open the meeting.

An Iraqi commander said it was important to note this was the first time all the different Iraqi ministry units were meeting to talk about an operation. "This will go a long way toward making all of our groups more effective and unified," he said.

DiSalvo briefed the Iraqi commanders on a plan to reduce the amount of vehicle bombs in the city. "The operation is a combined mission; we need the Iraqi forces to work together to make it a success," he said.

Iraqi commanders seemed very interested in planning the operation and offered advice on how to identify vehicle bombs. They offered comments on who they think are making the bombs, how to seal off Baghdad from terrorist infiltration, and how to improve communications among themselves and with coalition forces.

One Iraqi general provided some observations he has made about vehicle bombs. He said citizens need to be on the lookout for vehicles with tinted windows, vehicles riding low or tilted to one side due to carrying a heavy load of explosives, religious writing on the side of a vehicle -- so terrorist photographers will be able to recognize the vehicle -- vehicles with only one occupant, and vehicles driving very fast.

The Iraqi general said actions by security forces alone are not enough to defeat the terrorist threat. "It is important for the citizens to report suspicious persons or vehicles to the police and army. This is not something the Iraqi security force can do on its own," he said.

U.S. Army Maj. Daniel Cormier, an operations officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, briefed the "concept of operation" and roles of both the U.S. and Iraqi units. He stressed the need for crosstalk and coordination between all forces involved. He emphasized that through cooperation, "the Iraqi people will see a surge of Iraqi security force presence and need to understand we are doing this for their safety," he said.

"It is very important for the Iraqi people to know that the Iraqi security force is here to help," DiSalvo said. "By the end of the summer, the terrorists will be captured, dead or, in the least, severely disrupted because of (security) efforts in this operation," DiSalvo said.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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