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Cavalry Moves in on Insurgents Near Euphrates

Latifiyah, Iraq
-- Days after moving from Baghdad to Camp Dogwood in North Babil, the Soldiers of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, went on the offensive against anti-Iraqi activity in this relatively unfamiliar area of Iraq.

At the end of Operation River Walk, a 36-hour cordon and search held on Jan. 2 and 3 in and around the city of Latifiyah on the banks of the Euphrates River, the Troopers at Camp Dogwood took a moment to celebrate.

In conjunction with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the battle-weary troopers found more than nine significant weapons caches, detained 43 suspected anti-Iraqi insurgents and discovered and destroyed several improvised explosive devices.

It was the first time Multi-National Forces conducted this type of operation in this part of Iraq, according to Lt. Col. Tim Ryan, Task Force 2-12 Cavalry's commander. The area had served as a haven for anti-Iraqi insurgents who fled from Fallujah and other areas of Iraq. So the Army and Marines put their resources together to eliminate their ability to rest and regroup.

We detained "43 individuals. So that's 43 people who aren't making car bombs, IEDs, shooting at convoys and so on," Ryan said during the closing hours of the operation. "And, equally important, we've gathered a lot of information and made a lot of contacts that will allow us to continue to pursue the enemy in this area. So, the end result is the enemy doesn't have sanctuary. We've got him back on his heels and there's no where for him to hide."

The movement of 2-12 Cavalry's parent unit, the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, to the North Babil area of Iraq coincides with the upcoming Iraqi free elections slated for later this month.

Maj. Chris Wilbeck, the 2-12 Cavalry's operations officer, said eliminating anti-Iraqi forces from North Babil is part of the plan to provide security during the Iraqi election season.

"This area directly influences the Baghdad area," Wilbeck said. "Our presence here will help these people vote and enjoy democracy, as well as helping Baghdad be more secure during the elections."

The operation was also part of Multi-National Forces' plan to deny sanctuary to anti-Iraqi insurgents. Task Force 2-12 Cavalry has been helping with this mission since November, and in addition to Operation River Walk has conducted operations in Taji, Tarmiyah, Fallujah, Amiriyah and Karmah. (By Spc. Andy Miller, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Release #050105h

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