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Operation Iron Hammer

November, 30 2005 - December 3, 2005

From November 30, through December 3, 2005, some 500 Iraqi Army soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and 1,500 Marines and Sailors from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit along with 500 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion-114th Field Artillery Regiment conducted Operation Matraqa Hadidia (Iron Hammer) east of Hit, approximately 170 km from Baghdad. Forces concentrated their efforts in the Hai Al Becker region.

The aim of the operation was to clear the region of al Qaeda, an area not typically patrolled by Iraqi and U.S. Forces and Iraq-led terrorists and establish a secure environment for the National Elections held on Dec. 15, 2005.

The Hai Al Becker region is suspected to be an al Qaeda in Iraq safe area and base of operations for the manufacture of vehicle car bombs, roadside bombs. It is also believed to be a stopping point for terrorists as they transit the ‘rat lines’ down the Euphrates River from Syria into the interior of Iraq.

In early July, Iraqi and U.S. Forces established long-term security presence in the city of Hit during Operation Saif (Sword). During Saif, few terrorists were located; however, a score of weapons caches have been discovered in the region.

During the operation Iraqi and U.S. Forces used specialized explosive charges to clear paths through routes suspected to be seeded with roadside bombs. Secondary explosions caused by hidden mines or bombs were observed. One antipersonnel mine was also discovered during the clearing.

The Iraqi commander from 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and a local sheikh addressed a group of citizens. The commander and sheikh explained the purpose of the operation and addressed their concerns.

Long-term Iraqi-U.S. security presence was established in Hit last summer as part of Operation Saif (Sword). The villages on the eastern side of the Euphrates River were said to benefit from the security and stability brought by Iraqi Army Soldiers and U.S. Forces in Operation Iron Hammer.

There were no reported Iraqi Army or U.S. Forces casualties during Operation Iron Hammer. No air strikes or use of lethal force occurred during the operation. There were no reports of civilian casualties or disruption of basic services, such as water and utilities.