Archive for July 6th, 2008

Troop Scoop 7/6/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 06 Jul 2008 01:38 PM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Headline news story of AQI networks degraded.  Health care providers get hands on training by U.S. medics, while critical pipe line gets repaired so thousands can have fresh clean water.  It had been 5 years since singing was forbidden in Wasit, difficult for us to comprehend.  The reconciliation process of Iraqi citizens continues to grow.  More criminals and terrorists detained or killed, and weapons and munition caches seized.
Joanna
___________________________________
MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq

Al-Qaeda in Iraq networks degraded

BAGHDAD – CF dealt another blow to terrorist networks Saturday, detaining 9 suspects during ops targeting AQI’s senior leaders and operatives in northern Iraq.
Associates of an alleged al-Qaeda leader led CF to an area near Bi’aj, about 130 km southwest of Mosul, where they captured him and another wanted man. The alleged leader is assessed to oversee terrorist ops in northwest Iraq, including finances, attacks and the movement of foreign terrorists. One additional suspected terrorist was detained.
Two wanted men are in custody after CF targeted them during a raid in Bayji, about 160 km south of Mosul. The men are believed to be members of a bombing network that operates in the Tigris River Valley.  One of the men captured is also suspected of facilitating the movement of foreign terrorists into central Iraq.  CF detained 4 additional suspects in the op.

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Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 6, 2008
More than 135 Iraqis reconcile in Ad Dawr

TIKRIT – As the number of Iraqi citizens initiating the reconciliation process continues to grow in the Sunni-dominated Salah ad Din province, the town of Ad Dwar, just south of Tikrit, has seen its number grow to 137 within the past week.
The large numbers of citizens and foreign fighters from the area have decided to pledge their allegiance of loyalty to the GoI by ceasing attacks on Iraqi civilians, Iraqi SF and CF.
Four key individuals reconciled in the past week and 7 Iraqi court dates have been issued.
Lt. Col. Thomas Hauerwas, EO for the 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div., said “Hopefully this number will continue to grow as more of their men are realizing the potential prosperity of a unified Iraq.”

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MND-B Soldiers detain two key suspects

BAGHDAD – In al Rowad, northwest of Baghdad, July 5, at approx. 4:40 a.m., Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID detained a highly sought after suspect, believed to be an IED maker and emplacer with links to remote controlled IEDs targeting sheiks in the area.
In a separate search op, Soldiers from the 2nd SBCT detained another key individual at approx. 9 a.m. The
criminal groups suspect is implicated in the assassination of Sheik Baha and suspected of hiding weapons caches in the area.

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ISOF, IA detain eight suspected criminals, kill suicide bomber in separate ops

BALAD –  In the Ninewah province, July 4, in 1 op, ISOF conducted a mission in the outskirts of Mosul to detain the leader and other cell members of the ISI, a front org. for AQI. The group is known for operating support networks for weapons supply lines through Mosul to the north along the Tigris River.
Based on warrants, ISOF detained 7 suspected criminals who make up a cell that reportedly uses intimidation to silence local Iraqis, and extortion to finance the ISI as well as other criminals. The cell leader is also suspected of killing an IP officer.
In another op in Ninewah Province, IA Soldiers captured an individual believed to be the leader of a separate AQI cell.  The suspect is allegedly operating along the Syrian border in the Ninewah province, providing refuge to transient foreign fighters, and is also involved in the facilitation of IEDs, VBIEDs and other criminal activities.
During this op, IA soldiers detained 6 other individuals believed to be involved with the AQI cell.

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ISOF capture three suspected terrorists, one SG criminal in operations around central Iraq

BALAD –  July 3, in Baghdad, ISOF captured 2 suspected terrorists, accused of IED attacks against Iraqi and CF.
One of the suspected terrorists is an AQI deputy, accused of 2 attacks against CF in May 2008.  An additional suspect was detained during the op.
In another operation in Baghdad, ISOF captured a mid-level Special Groups criminal leader believed to be in charge of approx. 250 criminals. The suspect is believed to be responsible for IED and indirect fire attacks against Iraqi and CF.
An AQI leader, based in Anbar province, was captured by ISOF in northwest Baghdad.  He is suspected of conducting IED attacks against Iraqi Security and CF in Karmah, and abducting and holding individuals for ransom to raise funds for terrorist activities. He is a terrorist specializing in assassinations, kidnappings
and IEDs.  While processing him for detainment, authorities found a note with names of local Iraqis’ believed to be targeted due to their affiliations with CF.

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Singing Event Strengthens Cultural Bonds, Promotes Unity

By Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson, 41st Fires Brigade

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Approx. 900 people attended a 2-day performance by 2 famous Iraqi singers organized by the Wasit PRT.
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson

FOB DELTA — Discussing the Rule of Law and human rights does not normally bring a large crowd, but the people of al Kut swarmed to the al Kut Municipal Theater recently to hear such a message.
“It has been five years since singing was allowed in Wasit,” said Sabah al-Kayat, one of the performers for the event.
“The PRT continues to plan and support cultural events that stimulate a cultural revitalization and return to normalcy in Wasit through plays, films, poetry contests and journalism conferences,” said Vanessa Beary, the Wasit PRT public diplomacy officer.  This return to normalcy would not be possible without the support of the Iraqi SF, the PRT and CF.
“I’m really so happy and joyful to be among you today, with my sons and brothers from the IP and the IA in this song recital, which expresses the freedom of all Iraqi people in our society, to express himself in various ways according to the law,” said Maj. Gen. Hanin, provincial directorate of police, during his remarks at the first night of the event.  Hanin went on to read excerpts from the Iraqi constitution, outlining rights and freedoms entitled to every Iraqi.  His remarks were met with enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
According to Beary, these non-religious and apolitical cultural events help strengthen the community and serve as indicators of cultural progress in Wasit.  “After the first cultural event of the Mud House play, people on the street were asking when the next PRT cultural event was going to happen,” said Beary.
During the intermission of the first night, t-shirts were passed out with the ‘Sing’ logo on the front and “For Love, Peace, to build a civilized Iraq, we will all sing together” on the back.
“I will continue to work with the PRT, to bring these cultural events to the people,” said Hayder.

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Iraqi Healthcare Providers get Hands-on Training from U.S. Medics

By Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield
2nd Stryker BCT

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Sgt. Lucas Gonzales shows the staff of the Taji Healthcare Clinic how to properly use a device which provides pain relief in the back and neck.

Photo by Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield, 2nd Stryker Bde 25th ID

CAMP TAJI — Three Soldiers from the 225th BSB recently visited with the doctors, nurses and physicians of the Taji Health Clinic to provide the staff with hands-on training on some new medical equipment.
Due to the devastating consequences of war, healthcare in Iraq has suffered severely over the past 7 years. CF have joined with the Dept. of State and U.S. Agency for Int’l. Development to help put an end to the poor health conditions by providing health clinics with much needed repairs, supplies, education and up-to-date equipment.
Capt. Romarius Longmire a physician, Spc. Cavan Yen a medical lab technician, and Sgt. Lucas Gonzales, a physical therapy specialist, conducted the training.  “Some of the equipment may seem rugged to people back in the States, but here it is a luxury and a blessing,” said Gonzales.
The number of patients visiting the clinic is increasing, and the Soldiers want to ensure the clinic’s doctors and nurses become familiar with their new equipment and are confident to use it on their own.  “A couple of months ago, we were treating about 150 patients a day.  Now we are receiving well over 300 patients a day.  People are seeing the improvements made and are much more confident in the health care we provided here,” said Dr. Mahmood, clinic mgr.
This training is another step in the positive development in the healthcare system in Taji.  In the past 6 months, the clinic has gone from being an outer shell of a building to a flourishing medical center.

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Critical Pipeline Repaired, Thousands Receive Fresh Water

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Iraqi contractors load pipes for transport from a storage area on Camp Ramadi to a local warehouse under the control of the Ramadi Dir. Gen. of Water.

Photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Boucher.

CAMP RAMADI — Just outside Camp Ramadi, a team of Iraqi and American workers recently located and repaired a broken water pipeline, restoring water service to more than 1,000 local families.
Ramadi, the capital city of the al-Anbar province, straddles the Euphrates River.  On the surface, it would appear that water would be in abundant supply for the more than 450,000 citizens of this sprawling city. “There are areas that have less access than others,” said Cmdr. Kevin Hunt of Task Force Ramadi.  “Some areas southwest of Ramadi have no pressure at all and have been receiving bottled water.”  Hunt is working with local officials and other CF experts to address the essential need of providing a reliable flow of water to the citizens of Ramadi and the Al-Anbar province.
The challenge Hunt and others now face is determining what is working and what is not.  “The infrastructure that is in place is decrepit,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Thien, a Task Force Ramadi member working with the MNF-West Civil Military Ops Unit.  “The country has been in a state of war for more than a quarter of a century.  During that time, efforts to maintain and build infrastructure were just not there.”
Thien is working with the Iraqi Minister of Municipalities and Public Works in Baghdad to start developing a 20-year master plan for Anbar and the city. “This will help determine where they need to focus current and future efforts to maintain and expand the system to meet the needs of the Iraqi people,” he said.
Both men pointed out the issue of sanitation as being at the forefront of challenges Ramadi faces today. “The majority of the areas where people live have access to water,” said Thien. “The challenge is making sure they have access to safe, clean water.  As pipes leak and break, contaminates get inside.”
Ramadi does not have a sewage system but instead relies on a rainwater drainage system to discard waste. “Most of the houses were designed with septic tanks,” said Thien. “They don’t work very well in the soil here, so out of necessity, they have houses with ditches and drainage systems hooked up to the storm drain systems that flow directly into the river.  It has all the ingredients for a bad situation in the form of disease outbreak like cholera.”
While both Hunt and Thien, along with experts from the U.S. State Dept., are working towards addressing the water issue of the city of Ramadi and the al-Anbar province, they both point out that the solution will ultimately be an Iraqi one. “It doesn’t matter if the Americans can make it work.  It matters if the Iraqis can make it work,” said Thien. “It’s their province, city and water system.”

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Picture Perfect

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U.S. Army Combat cameraman, Spc. Charles Probst, is caught off guard by a young Iraq child, while on patrol with U.S. Soldiers in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, July 2, 2008.

Photo by Tech Sgt. Cohen Young

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Troop Scoop 7/5/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 05 Jul 2008 11:31 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Another story of the mass troop re-enlistment with an inspiring picture.  Iraqi soldiers demonstrate capabilities performing successful missions on their own.  With the help of US and British troops, a new school opens with endearing pictures, and Marines come to the rescue of a 5 year old boy.  Many criminals detained or killed, and weapons and munition caches seized.
Joanna
___________________________________________
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 5, 2008
Troops Re-enlist on Independence Day

Screenshot_004 1,215 Service members from all over Iraq gather in the Al Faw Palace rotunda on Camp Victory, to re-enlist and celebrate America’s Independence Day, July 4, 2008.

BAGHDAD —  All 1,215 service members celebrated by raising their right hand and pledging to continue defending the ‘land of the free’ in what is the largest re-enlistment ceremony since the all-volunteer force began in 1973, according to the MNF – Iraq Command Sgt Maj, Marvin L. Hill.
“Volunteering to continue to serve our nation, while deployed – is both noble and inspiring,” said Gen. David Petraeus, comm. gen., MNF – Iraq. “It is, as award citations often state, in keeping with the finest traditions of our military services.”
Petraeus presided over the ceremony and led the airmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers in their oath to defend their country against all enemies both foreign and domestic on this day of celebration of America winning its independence.
“We recognize the sacrifices they make and the sacrifices their families and communities make as they serve in Iraq,” Hill said. “These service members know the cost of war and they are still re-enlisting
“It makes me feel proud to serve this great nation,” said Spc. Zackary Cunningham, mechanic, 602nd Maintenance Bn, Tactical Base Balad, who plans on making the Army a career.
The re-enlistees have every right to feel proud, according to Petraeus. “You and your comrades here have been described as America’s new greatest generation, and, in my view, you have more than earned that description,” Petraeus said. “It is the greatest of honors to soldier here with you.”

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ISOF, ISF demonstrate capabilities through independent operations

BALAD – For more than a month, elements within the Iraqi SOF and elite units of Iraqi SF have conducted independent missions throughout the Baghdad area capturing known Special Groups criminals and seizing illegal weapons.  Prior to current ops, these forces normally worked alongside their U.S. SF counterparts.
Now, ISOF and ISF solely plan and execute their own missions capturing Special Groups criminals and recovering weapons caches in Sadr City, Al Kut and Falil areas of Baghdad.

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ISFs, ISOFs detain 7 suspected Special Groups criminals in 2 separate ops in Amarah

BAGHDAD – In one op, the Baghdad NER Unit simultaneously entered 3 houses, capturing 5 suspected Special Groups criminals. The Ministry of Interior had issued warrants for the arrest of the suspects accused of financing other Special Groups members and carrying out attacks in Amarah 3 months ago.
During a separate op, ISOF captured 2 individuals suspected of being Iranian surrogates who had warrants for their arrest. One of the individuals is believed to have killed an ISOF soldier by running him over with a car and then shooting him.

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Ramadi, Fallujah SWAT capture three suspected AQI cell members near Fallujah

BALAD – July 2, the 2 SWAT units conducted a joint op to capture key AQI facilitators suspected of providing VBIEDs to criminal groups. Two of the suspects are accused of facilitating the VBIEDs, and the other suspect is accused of making the VBIEDs.
The Iraqi SWAT teams planned the op using the GoI’s judicial system to obtain arrest warrants for these individuals based on evidence they gathered.

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MND-B Soldiers detain 5 suspected criminals

BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the 64th Armor Regt, attached to 1st BCT, 4th ID, conducted a search op and
detained 4 suspected criminals wanted for weapons smuggling, extortion and roadside bomb activity at approx. 11 p.m., July 3, in the Saydiyah community.
At approx. 3:30 a.m., July 4, Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, conducted an op and detained 1 suspected
criminal also in the Saydiyah neighborhood.
Maj. Dave Olson, spokesman, 1st BCT, said  “Due to the relentless pursuit of the enemy as well as finding numerous weapons caches, the Brigade has reduced the average daily attack levels from 5 per day in April to 2 attacks in June in the Rashid district.  Because of this success in security, the Iraqi citizens are beginning to understand what independence from tyranny is all about. ”

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New school opens in Umm Qasr

BASRA – British and U.S Forces helped cut the ribbon on the brand new Abi Ferras School in the port city of Umm Qasr, June 30.
Mr. Karim, the school’s principle, organized the ceremony.  Weekly planning meetings between MNF and the Town Council aim to address any concerns regarding other essential services in the district.
Any port city requires a dedicated workforce and stable community in order to truly thrive and Umm Qasr is no different. The surrounding area has seen significant change over the past few months.  Initiatives running include improvements to hospital facilities, water treatment plants, schools and recreation areas.
The port city of Umm Qasr continues to grow and prosper as the Iraqi Army has taken control of the area.

Screenshot_001 Mr. Karim is assisted by members of British and U.S. Forces who were on hand to donate supplies to the brand new school.

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A British soldier plays with Iraqi Children.

Screenshot_003 These Iraqi children living in Umm Qasr have a brand new school to attend.

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MND-B Soldiers detain suspected IED maker in Rashid district

FOB FALCON –  July 3, at approx. 11:15 a.m., Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained the suspect in the Masafee community.  During a search of his home and workplace, the patrol found a substantial amount of bomb-making components.

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ISF, MND-B Soldiers seize weapons in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – July 3, at approx. 6:30 a.m., Iraqi NP working with Soldiers from the 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div confiscated 25 AK-47s, 2 SKS 7.62 mm semi-automatic machine guns, an SMG machine gun with drum, a PKC machine gun Drum, a radar pole and uniforms.
Later in the day, IA soldiers working with Soldiers from 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID discovered a cache of weapons consisting of 8 57 mm mortar rounds that had been converted to IEDs with initiators; 16, 82 mm mortar rounds; 3 122 mm mortar rounds; 100, 14.8 mm rounds; and 111, 25 mm rounds north of Baghdad at approx. 3 p.m.

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A Broken Heart Mending in Fallujah

By Cpl. Chris T. Mann
Regimental Combat Team – 1

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Five-year-old Ahmed and his father, Warrant Officer Othman Mallouki, an IP with Fallujah HQ District, get ready to leave the Joint Command Center after a visit with Marines from Co B, Police Transition Team 8, RCT 1, June 21. Marines with the team are working with the family to arrange transportation for Ahmed’s surgery in Jordan.
Photo by Cpl. Chris Mann.

FALLUJAH — Sounds of joy and laughter resonate through a police station’s narrow hallways. A young boy slowly enters through a doorway at the end to greet the boisterous group of Marines, but the sounds of excitement quickly diminish as they see him gasping for air after walking just a short distance.
The boy, five-year-old Ahmed, is the son of Warrant Officer Mallouki, an IP with Fallujah HQ District. Since his birth, Ahmed has suffered from a rare but fatal heart condition that if left untreated, will eventually kill him at an unthinkable young age.
Only recently did the light begin to peak through at the end of a dark tunnel for Ahmed and his family when Marines from Co B, Police Transition Team 8, RCT 1, and a charitable organization called “Gift of Life,” based in Tampa, Fla., intervened.
Ahmed’s condition was diagnosed at Fallujah Surgical when Marines took him in for an exam, said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Craig W. Pasanen, a corpsmen with the team.  Doctors discovered a hole in the septum of his heart that causes oxygen and deoxygenated blood to pass through the heart and not the lungs.
Mallouki and his son have been working with CF for the past year in attempts to get the money and medical attention that they so desperately need to help Ahmed.  The operation to mend Ahmed’s heart will be extensive and will require a specialist to stitch the hole inside his heart that is causing his condition.  But medical expenses for the family soon became too much. The nearest qualified specialist who can perform the surgery locates at a surgical clinic in Jordan.  The family had no way of earning the money they need to travel and pay for Ahmed’s medical expenses.
Several months ago, members of the team contacted representatives at “Gift of Life,” who began sponsoring Mallouki and Ahmed.  In June, Mallouki was able to apply for Visas that would allow the father and son access into Jordan.  Their travel expenses were also covered by the charitable organization, and Transition Team members organized several convoys to Baghdad, to assist.  Ahmed will finally undergo the surgery he’s needed sometime this month.
“Before I could not hope for anything at all and I was depressed all the time,” said Mallouki. “Now I feel in my heart a sense of hope that my son will grow up normal.  I would not have this hope in my life if it weren’t for the Marines here.”

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Troop Scoop 7/4/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 04 Jul 2008 09:23 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
On this July 4th, we honor our troops serving in harms’ way, and carrying forth the torch of freedom, handed to them be past heroic veterans, while keeping us safe at home.  Ours and Iraqi troops make an effort to keep the children safe.  Our troops are busy helping to revitalize Sadr City neighborhoods.  Many criminals detained, as well as a sweep of AQI terrorists across Iraq.  Weapons and munition caches seized by troops at all hours.
Joanna
________________________________

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 3, 2008

‘Regulars’ Assess Reconstruction Programs in Sadr City

By Sgt. Philip Klein
3rd BCT, 4th ID

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Lt. Col. Brian Eifler takes a moment during his patrol to spend some time with local children, July 2.
Photo by Sgt. Philip Klein.

BAGHDAD — Soldiers with 1st Bn, 6th Inf Regt, 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div, patrolled the Sadr City neighborhoods of Thawra 1 and Thawra 2 to assess reconstruction, security gains and ongoing projects that are revitalizing one of Baghdad’s important districts, July 2.
Task Force 1-6, currently attached to 3rd BCT, 4th ID, along with Iraqi SF, is tasked with rejuvenating Sadr City, which suffered greatly due to the extremist activities in past months.  Lt. Col. Brian Eifler, comm. officer of Task Force 1-6, which is based out of Baumholder, Germany, said he realizes the importance of the mission in a district that is critical to the general security of Baghdad and Iraq.  “People are happy when they have jobs and feel safe, and that is what we are trying to accomplish with our partners in the GoI and the IA,” said Eifler.  “With the GoI, we are pumping money into the Sadr City community to create jobs, repair damaged infrastructure, and provide security to help get the lives of these people back to normal,” he continued.
Eifler expanded on the efforts by singling out projects designed to get basic services in place such as reconstruction, electricity and sanitation.  “People are now feeling secure and have a renewed confidence in the GoI to help out with general repair and cleanup as well as provide security, and we are trying to facilitate the GoI in these endeavors,” said Eifler.
Spc. Pedro Gonzalez, a Soldier with the personal security detachment of Task Force 1-6, said he has noticed a big difference in the response from the local citizens.  “We are welcomed in the streets whenever we do a patrol or stop by to visit a local business,” said Gonzalez.  “The people, and especially the kids, are always glad to see us when we come by. They know that we are trying to help improve their living conditions, and their response is because they are tired of the violence and want to live a normal life.”

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MND-B Soldiers detain seven suspected criminals

BAGHDAD – July 2 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad, at approx. 11:30 p.m. Soldiers from the 4th ID working with Iraqi SF, conducted a search op and detained 7 suspected criminals in the Risalah neighborhood.
“This is my third tour in Iraq and one of the biggest things I noticed on this tour was the improvement in the Iraqi SF,” said Col. Ted Martin, cmdr. and spokesperson with the 1st BCT, 4th ID.  “The ISF partnered with us are professionally trained and well-led forces, who  are doing a great job in the Rashid district.”

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Quick Reaction Force 2 discovers caches near Karmah

KARMAH – While on patrol near the city of Karmah, 1st IA (QRF)) discovered a substantial weapons cache, July 1 which included 160 60 mm mortars, 60 82 mm mortars, 8 120 mm rounds, 5 40 mm projectiles, a 60 mm mortar base, 15 kilograms of TNT, 2 RPGs, 6 SpG-9 rockets, 70 rockets of different types, 150 120 mm mortar fillings, 100 60 mm mortar fillings, 100 60 mm mortar stabilizing fins, 40 120 mm mortar stabilizing fins, 4 SpG-9 rocket fillings and a hand-grenade.

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MND-B Soldiers seize munitions throughout Baghdad

BAGHDAD –  July 1, Soldiers serving with the 2nd Stryker BCT, 25th ID, found 80 cans of anti-air rounds, 5 rockets, 17 rocket tubes and several tubes of various sizes at approx. 9 a.m. north of Baghdad.
Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div (AASLT), seized a RPG with launcher, mortar rounds, a PKC and a 180mm mortar round in the Mansour district., at approx. 12:20 p.m.
Approx. one hour later, Soldiers with 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div., seized 7 mortar rounds in the Rusafa area.
At approximately 4:40 p.m., Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 4th ID, found a full AK-47 mag., a pistol belt, a vest with magazine pouches, a washing machine timer, a bayonet and a primer connected to a power source in the Adhamiyah area.
Soldiers from 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div, found 2 flash bang grenades disassembled with fuses, an RPG sight, multiple AK-47s, 48 magazines, 8 plate carriers with plates and an unopened box of 7.62mm ammo in the Rusafa area at approx. 5:30 p.m.
Approx. one hour later, Soldiers with the 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div., found 2 Austrian artillery rounds, 2 5-kilogram bags of TNT, a license plate and 2 steel barriers in new Baghdad.

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MND-B Soldiers, IA Make Effort to Protect Iraqi Children

By Pfc. Lyndsey R. Dransfield
2nd Styker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

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An IA Soldier speaks with a father and son from the city of Nadeem, northwest of Baghdad, June 26, about the dangers of al-Qaida recruiting children to join their forces.
Photo by Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield.

CAMP TAJI — Children, at times, are easy targets for criminals and terrorists.  Not only are they the victims of attacks, they are now the victims of recruitment into dangerous organizations.  Since the liberation of Iraq in 2003, there have been several incidents of al-Qaida using children to conduct their terrorist activities.
Soldiers from 4th Plt, Co C, 1st Bn 14th Inf Regt, 2nd Stryker BCT “Warrior,” 25th ID, joined with the IA to reach out to children and their families by conducting a patrol throughout the Mushada area, northwest of Baghdad, passing out flyers and speaking with the locals of the city.
“At first the people that we made contact with were apprehensive to talk to us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steve Purvis, plt sgt with Co C.  “But when they realized we were there to inform them and about recent ploys to exploit their children, and that we care about them and their children, they were more receptive and openly began to talk with us.”
Not only were they successful in informing the families, but Sgt. John Mulcahy, team sgt attached to 1st Bn said they also had success in having their message distributed by the local religious leader, or imam.
“By people seeing the IA serving and protecting them, it shows that their country is growing stronger,” said Purvis.
“Everybody knows that Soldiers love children,” Purvis stated. “By using children al-Qaida is trying to exploit their innocence against us.  The children of Iraq are the future of the country.”

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Funding Shapes Operating Environment

By 1st Lt. Travis Hayes
4th BCT, 3rd ID

Screenshot_084 Work continues, June 24, on a bridge in Khidr.
Photo by Maj. Sean Hood.

FOB ISKAN — CF continue to help communities in Iraq shape the environment through project revitalization, grants, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
Currently, 3rd Bn, 7th Inf Regt’s area of op has 25 ongoing projects aimed at improving local economies and creating employment opportunities.  Of those, 23 are enduring infrastructure projects.  The majority of the funding is through the GoI Cmdrs Emergency Response Program.
“(Iraqi citizens) consistently come up to us, thanking us for the new buildings and school renovations that we’ve been working on,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Combs, 3-7th Inf. Regt. engineer NCO-in-charge. “It’s great to see the smiles on the Iraqi people’s faces after the completion of projects.  Sheikhs tell us we’ve made the towns and cities here better than they ever were.  It’s been very fulfilling to be a part of this,” said Combs.
The Abu Lukah Civil Service Corps, one of the many newly established programs, is expected to begin operation within the next week.  The CSC is an outlet for SoI members to transition from manning checkpoints to developing skills that will enable them to work as skilled laborers.  After a year of training and testing, each trainee will receive a start-up tool kit for his assigned skill. This program will develop Iraqi citizens into skilled laborers, which will allow them to compete in their local towns and cities for contracts and become self-sufficient.
A second initiative, which awards micro grants to qualified start-up and pre-existing business owners, is positively impacting local economies.  Thirty-two micro grants have been awarded through CERP funds. “Once you achieve security, it’s all about creating conditions for employment and economic growth, and this is what we’re helping to do by jump-starting businesses and building town halls and civic centers,” said 1st Lt. Allen Von Plinsky, 3-7th inf. Regt. engineer.

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MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq

Al-Qaeda attacks averted across Iraq

BAGHDAD – A precision op in Baghdad July 2 netted a man assessed to be the leader of multiple AQI cells in the Southern Belt around the city. The suspect is believed to be responsible for bombings, kidnappings and attacks against CF. Also July 2, CF in Baghdad detained a man suspected of involvement in the AQI propaganda network.
In Mosul July 3, CF captured an alleged terrorist leader and one suspected associate.  The alleged leader is assessed to oversee kidnappings, assassinations and extortion ops.
CF targeted an AQI foreign terrorist facilitator July 3 near Ribat, a town along the Euphrates River near the Iraq-Syria border.  As the force secured the building, a terrorist ran to the back and barricaded himself in a room with a weapon, and was killed.  The terrorist was later identified as the targeted individual, who helped foreign terrorists cross into Iraq to conduct attacks.  Three additional suspects were detained.
In Sharqat, about 90 km south of Mosul, CF targeted the leader of a local AQI cell Thursday.  When the force called for occupants of a building to surrender, 2 people complied but one man refused to follow CF’ instructions, was engaged and killed.  On the roof, CF discovered a suicide vest, and outside the building, they found an underground tunnel. They safely destroyed the explosives, tunnel, and detained 3 suspected terrorists in the op.

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