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Seal of Combined Joint Task Force 7 CJTf7 We Will Not Falter, We Will Not Fail

Twelve Marines killed in aggressive operations in Al Anbar Province

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - I Marine Expeditionary Force continued to execute Operation Vigilant Resolve yesterday throughout the Al Anbar Province and in several cities known to harbor anti-Iraqi forces.

Operations from the Syrian border to the Baghdad suburbs have resulted in the capture or death of a significant number of anti-Iraqi Forces and foreign terrorists.  To the west, a combination of the ongoing efforts in the Husaybah and Al Qa'im regions are undercutting the ability of the anti-Iraqi Forces to import foreign fighters, cash and equipment.  Heightened operations to the east, to include the cordon around Fallujah and combat operations in other major cities in the Al Anbar Province, are drawing out anti-Iraqi Forces.

Establishing a persistent presence in areas where U.S. forces have not consistently operated over the last 12 months has been costly.  Operations as they unfolded yesterday in Ar Ramadi were shadowed by the loss of 12 Marines.  Eleven Marines died while engaged with the anti-Iraqi Forces for more than seven hours; one died from wounds suffered during the firefight.

The increase in the number of attacks on Coalition Forces in the Al Anbar Province is attributable to the I Marine Expeditionary Force's strategy toheighten their profile, operate throughout the zone and challenge anti-Iraqi Forces in place where they've gained influence.

The citizens of Ar Ramadi remained in their homes during the engagement. Several calls from Iraqi citizens to the Coalition tip line aided Coalition Forces in identifying, isolating and combating the terrorists.  Throughout the fight, members of the Iraqi Police Service and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers secured key city government facilities and helped control traffic in and out of the city.
When the fighting subsided, Ar Ramadi remained under the supervision of the governor of the province, the chief of police and the Iraqi security forces.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, the Iraqi Police Services and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps were providing security for the residents of Ar Ramadi.  Coalition Forces are monitoring the situation and ready to provide support in the event that terrorists resume hostilities.
The names of the dead are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

Release #040407a

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