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Release A050523c

Operation Squeeze Play: Cracking down hard on terror

BAGHDAD , Iraq – Local commanders from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, and Coalition Forces met May 21 to discuss how to deal with terrorist actions in Baghdad 's Rusafa neighborhood.

“This is just the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the Iraqi Police, Public Order Brigades and the Iraqi Army. From now on, forces from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and Coalition Forces will work together to defeat the terrorists in Baghdad,” said US Army Col. Joseph DiSalvo, commander of Coalition Forces in Rusafa, eastern Baghdad, to open the meeting.

One of the Iraqi commanders said it was important to note this was the first time all the different MoI/MoD units were meeting to talk about an operation. “This will go a long way toward making all of our groups more effective and unified,” he said.

DiSalvo briefed the Iraqi commanders on a plan to reduce the amount of vehicle bombs in the city. “The operation is a combined mission; we need the Iraqi Forces to work together to make it a success,” he said.

Iraqi commanders seemed very interested in planning the operation and offered advice on how to identify vehicle bombs. They offered comments on who they think are making the bombs, how to seal off Baghdad from terrorist infiltration and how to improve communications among themselves and with the Coalition Forces.

One Iraqi general provided some observations he has made about vehicle bombs. He said citizens need to be on the look out for vehicles with tinted windows; vehicles riding low or tilted to one side due to carrying a heavy load of explosives; religious writing on the side of a vehicle, so a terrorist photographer will be able to recognize the vehicle; vehicles with usually only one occupant; and vehicles driving very fast.

The Iraqi general said actions by security forces alone are not enough to defeat the terrorist threat. “It is important for the citizens to report suspicious persons or vehicles to the police and army. This is not something the Iraqi security force can do on its own,” he said.

US Army Maj. Daniel Cormier, an operations officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, briefed the concept of the operation and roles of both the US and Iraqi units. He stressed the need for crosstalk and coordination between all forces involved. He emphasized that through cooperation, “the Iraqi people will see a surge of Iraqi security force presence and need to understand we are doing this for their safety,” he said.

“It is very important for the Iraqi people to know that the Iraqi security force is here to help,” DiSalvo said. “By the end of the summer, the terrorists will be captured, dead or, in the least, severally disrupted, because of (security) efforts in this operation,” DiSalvo said.




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