American Forces Press Service
July 9, 2007 – Iraqi army and coalition soldiers from Task Force Lightning continued offensive operations in and around the capital of Iraq's Diyala province today, as Operation Arrowhead Ripper continues to deny resources to al Qaeda terrorists during its 20th day in the area. Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, discovered and disabled five vehicles being prepared as car bombs and caches containing pipe bombs, sniper rifles, and other explosives and bomb-making materials.
During another joint operation in western Baqubah, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, and Iraqi forces disabled three IEDs and discovered a cache of small arms. Also included in this discovery was an al Qaeda safe house containing a large amount of medical supplies and equipment. The medical supplies taken from this safe house were distributed to the local civilian population.
"In western Baqubah, Arrowhead Ripper has met our initial tactical objectives and then some," said Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commander for operations for Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division North. "Not only have we cleared out the active al Qaeda operatives in the western part of the city, but more importantly started to return fundamental life and normalcy to the citizens in that part of the city -- food, water, fuel -- those things that are essential to the trust and confidence of the people in their government."
Iraqi and coalition soldiers continue to conduct successful engagements throughout the capital denying al Qaeda operatives resources and safe havens.
In the Baqubah's Buhriz neighborhood, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, and Iraqi soldiers, engaged and killed five terrorists who had launched a mortar attack from nearby palm groves. Local citizens provided accurate information to the joint forces enabling the successful engagement.
In a separate engagement in old Baqubah, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, detained 34 suspected terrorists after following tips from local citizens.
"The true measure of success is in talking to the Iraqis who are starting to return to a sense of normalcy in western Baqubah," Bednarek said. "The fact that you have people coming out of their houses, starting to walk to the markets, (talking) with each other, riding bicycles, playing soccer in the streets, allowing the return of fundamental goods and services."
Since the beginning of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, at least 60 al Qaeda operatives have been killed, 215 have been detained, 55 weapons caches have been discovered, 124 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed, and 24 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)