Operation Steel Curtain continues
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq –Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team –2 continue Operation al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in the town of Ubaydi today.
Ubaydi is located on the banks of the Euphrates River, 20 km from the Syrian border and separated into the Old and New Ubaydi. Old Ubaydi has been cleared and now the Iraqi Army and Coalition forces are focusing on clearing the al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of New Ubaydi.
Iraqi Army Soldiers, Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers engaged groups of terrorist fighters when they entered the city this morning after receiving small arms fire.
Approximately 50 terrorists are estimated to have been killed in sporadic but heavy fighting. The combined force of Iraqi Army and Coalition forces has encountered at least six mines and improvised bombs while clearing Ubaydi. This includes a home booby-trapped with explosives.
A suspected car bomb placed in the advance of Iraqi Forces was engaged with a round from an M1A1 tank. The blast from the tank initiated a secondary explosion powerful enough to throw the car onto the roof of a nearby building.
Iraqi Forces discovered an active minefield southeast of Husaybah which they are working to reduce for the safety of the local citizens.
A similar operation, Operation Matador, was conducted last May to eliminate terrorists and disrupt their activity in Ubaydi, a known terrorist transit and training area. Since that time, Iraqi Forces have increased, allowing for a permanent presence within the city.
The intent of Operation Steel Curtain is to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraq-Syria border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the al Qaim region. The towns of Husaybah and Karabilah were cleared earlier in the operation which began Nov. 5 and a permanent Iraqi-U.S. presence has been established. Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2,500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors are participating in Operation Steel Curtain.
This offensive is part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar and to establish a permanent Iraqi Army presence in the al Qaim region.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT THE MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-WEST PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE AT CEPAOWO@CEMNF-WIRAQ.USMC.MIL.
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