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CENTCOM

NEWS RELEASE
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894

October 5, 2004
Release Number: 04-10-16


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


IRAQI, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCES LAUNCH OPERATION IN NORTHERN BABIL

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq - Iraqi and Multi-National forces today kicked off their most sweeping operation to date in Northern Babil, moving against multiple targets across the central Iraqi province in a continuing campaign to restore security and stability here.

From their forward operating bases throughout the zone, Iraqi and Multi-National forces, led by the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, punched west across the Euphrates River in search of anti-Iraqi forces and those who aid them.

While rounding up 30 suspects during the initial sweep, the Iraqis and their American allies seized a suspected insurgent training camp and took control of the Jurf Kas Sukr Bridge.

The bridge, spanning the Euphrates southwest of Baghdad, is believed to be a favored corridor for insurgents moving into and out of key cities, including the capital hub and the current AIF sanctuary of Fallujah.

The operation involves more than 3,000 Iraqi and Multi-National forces, including elements from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines -- the MEU's ground combat element, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, the Army's 1-23 Stryker Battalion, Iraq's 2nd Ministry of the Interior Commando Battalion and the 507th Iraqi National Guard Battalion. In their coordinated thrusts this week, the ISF and Marines are intensifying operations they've been conducting since the 24th MEU assumed operational control of Northern Babil in July.

Since then, they have captured more than 160 individuals suspected of engaging directly in or abetting criminal and AIF activity. They have also uncovered numerous weapons caches, enabling them to take about 35,000 pounds of explosives out of action.

The MEU's mission is to assist Iraqi authorities in fostering security and stability for the nearly 900,000 citizens of the province.

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