American and Iraqi forces killed scores of insurgents and found numerous enemy weapons caches during anti-terrorist operations conducted across Iraq in recent days, according to Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.
In one such operation conducted in the Tikrit area, U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and soldiers with the 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, teamed up to kill nearly 50 insurgents while capturing 20. A large enemy weapons cache complex containing six caches was also uncovered during the sweep.
Many of the seized caches were buried in underground bunkers, according to U.S. military officials. The caches included more than 400,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 15,000 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition, five mortar bipods, three heavy machine guns, three anti-tank weapons, two recoilless rifles and numerous mortar rounds, grenades, flares and other artillery rounds.
The combined U.S.-Iraqi force also found a number of improvised explosive device-making materials, including batteries, cellular phones, blasting caps, explosives, propaganda materials and a large amount of American money.
"We made a significant impact on the enemy's ability to conduct any type of anti-Iraqi force operations," said Army Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, the 5-73rd's commanding officer.
Poppas praised the Iraqi soldiers for their performance during the five-day operation that took the fight directly to insurgents while they were attempting to emplace IEDs or getting ready to stage new attacks against U.S., Iraqi and coalition forces in the area.
"The Iraqi army fought in partnership with us," Poppas said, noting the combined U.S.-Iraqi force engaged and defeated insurgents who were often dug in and manning hard-to-assault defensive positions.
Coalition forces also employed close-air-support provided by planes and helicopters that rained bombs and rockets upon enemy ground troops.
"This was an operation of opportunity," Poppas said, noting the offensive had demolished enemy command-and-control nodes while destroying arms caches, heavy weapons, and killing scores of insurgents.
Poppas said the coalition troops found approval from local villagers, who "also want the insurgents out of their area so they can return to a sense of normalcy."
In other operations conducted across Iraq yesterday, coalition forces killed 11 terrorists and detained 24 suspects during raids in Tikrit, Baqubah, Yusufiyah, and Baghdad, according to officials.
Iraqi commandos with coalition advisors also raided several areas in Sadr City, Baghdad, yesterday. Commandos searched for recent kidnap victims, while they disrupted terrorist cells and criminal gangs operating in the area, officials said.
Another coalition-forces raid conducted at a suspected terrorist meeting place in Ramadi yesterday resulted in the deaths of eight terrorists and the capture of two suspects, according to officials. After the shooting had stopped, coalition troops discovered numerous enemy explosives and other munitions, which were destroyed.
In other action, coalition aircraft attacked and destroyed a vehicle containing two terrorists traveling near Baghdad yesterday. Intelligence reports cited the pair as having been active in IED attacks against coalition forces and suicide bombing operations, according to U.S. officials.
Additionally, Iraqi police and coalition forces found and disarmed two enemy rockets and launching components during a combined operation conducted Nov. 17 in the town of Dibbis, located northwest of the city of Kirkuk, officials said. The Dibbis police found the 52 mm rockets and ignition systems and promptly called for backup. Explosive experts from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, arrived to disarm and destroy the rockets.
In another Nov. 17 operation conducted in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood, U.S. soldiers seized an enemy weapons cache and helped Iraqi troops find another. U.S. soldiers with Company A, 52nd Infantry, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, raided the home of a suspected terrorist and found a supply of weapons. Weapons confiscated included two AK-47s, six magazines, a rifle, two hand grenades, and sniper weapon ammunition. The American troops also detained a suspect for further questioning.
U.S. soldiers also assisted Iraqi troops in seizing another weapons cache in the same area later that same day.
Also, U.S. and Iraqi forces detained four suspected insurgents and seized multiple enemy weapons caches during combat operations conducted east of Balad on Nov. 16. The caches included more than 30 artillery rounds, 16 mortar rounds, two machine guns, two rocket launchers, and several thousand rounds of small arms ammunition.
"The discoveries of these caches put a dent in the roadside bombs in our area," said Army Lt. Col. Kevin Dunlop, commander of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. "This will send a message to all who plant and supply roadside bombs."
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