Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Great News From Iraq - December 10, 2007

Tip leads MND-B Soldiers to large cache in Ameriyah BAGHDAD - Acting on a tip from area volunteers, Coalition Forces uncovered the second largest weapons cache ever discovered by Task Force 1-5 Cavalry in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Ameriyah late on Dec. 3. The tip came from members of the Forsan Al Rafidain (Arabic for "knights of the two rivers'), an Iraqi volunteer security force in the area. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), uncovered a cache consisting of several different types of anti-tank mines, grenades and a large quantity of improvised explosive device-making material. The cache included 95 landmines as well as an assortment of different rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades. The last time a cache of this size was found in Ameriyah was in late summer, during the most intense fighting between Al Qaeda and Coalition Forces. After the cache was uncovered, a Forsan Al Rafidain member received a phone call stating there was an IED in the area. After a brief search, one pressure-plate IED was found on the front porch of the house where the weapons cache was discovered.

Lion Pounce returns Diwaniyah to its people BAGHDAD - The city of Diwaniyah belongs to the people once again - a city where people walk the streets at night without fear or intimidation; a city where children go to the parks to play. It's a city without "them" - the militants, terrorists, criminals and thugs that surrounded the city and its citizens in a cloak of fear. Over the past several weeks, 8th Iraqi Army Soldiers joined forces with Iraqi Special Operations Forces, Iraqi Emergency Response Units and Iraqi Police to rid the city of these "bad men," a common term used to describe those militants and criminals. The joining of forces was part of Operation Lion Pounce - a series of ongoing operations in and around Diwaniyah to disrupt, isolate and neutralize militant, insurgent and criminal organizations. Iraqi Special Operations Forces and ERUs, accompanied by U.S. Special Forces advisors, launched their first Lion Pounce raid in mid-November with additional missions following in rapid succession the following nights. So far, operations have led to the capture of more than 150 suspects. Col. Hasan Abbas Tofan Sultan Al-Fatlawi, 8th Iraqi Army chief of staff. suspects these Soldiers and police forces will catch many more as they flush these militants from their hiding places. "We have broken the base of these terrorists," the colonel said. "We have broken their networks, and we have captured their leaders." Colonel Hasan sees a vastly different city than it was a few weeks ago. "The citizens of Diwaniyah are very happy and comfortable as we bring back security to this city," the colonel said. "People are not afraid to walk the streets at night. They are shopping at the markets, and children are going back to school. Things are almost back to normal. People know that no one is going to try to shoot them. They know we won't let that happen."

Victory troops bring books to Iraqi children CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - When a unit gears up for a mission, each team member may carry more than half his body weight in armor and equipment. For some troops at the Victory Base Complex, the gear can be just as heavy, but it is not armor or military gear they carry with them. It is school books, clothes, shoes and other hygiene products they distribute to the local families and youth. School supplies and other necessities are distributed to Iraqi families in a nearby neighborhood by Victory troops through Hearts for Baghdad, a program sponsored by the Camp Victory Chaplains' office. "All these things are donated to Hearts for Baghdad by caring people in the United States," said Marine 1st Lt. Melvin Burch.

Baghdad Regional Security Summit II - More than 200 sheiks gathered at the Nasar Wa Salam Iraqi Police Station for the Northwest Baghdad Regional Security Summit II in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, Dec 6. The summit was held to promote a safe, secure, and stable Iraq in partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces, the government of Iraq and tribal leaders.

Troops stop alleged al-Qaeda operatives returning to Rashid BAGHDAD -Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers arrested two men who were suspected terrorists attempting to infiltrate back into the Rashid District Dec. 6. They made the arrest of the alleged al-Qaeda operatives after receiving a tip from an informant. In the Doura region, Soldiers raided a home and detained an alleged al-Qaeda in Iraq member suspected of multiple murders. Iraqi Security Volunteers believe the suspect was in the neighborhood trying to re-organize a new terrorist group in the area. After a fire fight in Saydiyah, Soldiers detained a man who the Iraqi Army believes may be a member of a radical AQI splinter group. During a patrol, the Soldiers and members of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division were shot at from a home, and returned fire. Upon clearing the house, Soldiers found a blood trail that led them to the suspect armed with a pistol and a hand grenade.

Iraqi leaders commit to unity during summit CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Sheiks of tribes, Iraqi Army and police leaders, representatives of the Iraqi government and leaders from the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and Multi-National Division - Baghdad gathered at an Iraqi Police station in Nassir Wa Salam, Iraq, to discuss further steps to advance bringing the region back to the government of Iraq during the Northwest Baghdad Regional Security Summit Dec 6. Approximately 1,000 sheiks and local leaders attended the second of a series of reconciliation meetings that have taken place between the Sunni and Shia sheiks in the 1st Cavalry Division's area of operations. Tribal and governmental leadership from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Tarmiyah and the Anbar province came together to meet with senior leaders from the Baghdad provincial government, national government and Iraqi Security Forces. "The people of this community and the government have demonstrated their willingness to serve," said Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, commander of 2-5 Cavalry. "That's the reason security is the way it is, the people are willing to serve. This is the beginning of unity."

---Multi-National Corps - Iraq, December 10, 2007

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