American Forces Press Service
May 22, 2008 - Iraqi and U.S. forces have significantly improved security in Iraq's Ninevah province, a senior U.S. military commander in the region said yesterday. Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Task Force Iron and Multinational Division North, spoke at a news conference about the positive outcomes of the Iraqi-led and coalition-supported operations focused on al-Qaida in Iraq and other terrorist threats in the province.
The operations in Ninevah are focused on eliminating terrorists who attack and inhibit improved security, the general said, with a goal of returning normalcy and reestablish a safe environment for Iraqi citizens.
Since May 10, the Ninevah Operations Command reports the detention of more than 1,200 individuals, many of them mid-level or senior-level leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent and terrorist groups, Hertling said. Attacks in the Ninevah province have significantly decreased since the beginning of operations, he added.
Soldiers of the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi army divisions and the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, joined by the Iraqi national police, Iraqi border patrol forces, the Iraqi air force, Iraqi special operations forces, and a variety of other organizations have worked together to rid Ninevah of terrorist activity, the general said.
Ninevah's governor is attempting to execute three year's worth of annual budgets to improve the lives of the citizens, Hertling said, as well as to bring drought relief to the province's farmers to improve essential services. The people of Ninevah are encouraged by the actions of the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army, but are also encouraged by the actions of the Iraqi government in fighting threats to their security, he said.
"The level of attacks and intelligence reports indicate we have affected the enemy," Hertling said, "but they are not completely defeated yet. There is still much work to be done."
(From a Multinational Division North news release.)