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Release A050621a

Operation Spear update

Multi-National Force-Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces and Marines, Sailors and Soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division, continue Operation Spear (Romhe), in and around the city of Karabilah in Western Al Anbar province.

Three car-bomb factories were discovered today at separate locations by Iraqi Soldiers and Marines in Western Karabilah . A total of 17 car bombs were located, including a tractor trailer, dump truck and van rigged with explosives, which were destroyed in place by a Marine tank unit. Large secondary explosions were observed coming from the explosive-laden vehicles.

Terrorists use car bombs in two ways; remote-detonated while parked or manually detonated by a suicide bomber driving the vehicle.

Marines were attacked by a suicide car bomber May 8, resulting in the destruction of 60 percent of the Hadithah Hospital . On April 11, less than 5 km away, the Marine outpost, Camp Gannon was attacked by three suicide car bombers, one of which was a bomb hidden inside a fire truck. Marines were prepared for such an attack because intelligence reports warned of emergency vehicles such as fire trucks or ambulances being uses as suicide car bombs. In Habaniyah, a car bomb exploded outside a mosque killing four Iraqis and wounding 15.

A small weapons cache and nine foreign passports were found hidden at the building where the four Iraqi men were held captive by terrorist and tortured for approximately three weeks. Sudanese, Tunisian, Saudi Arabian and Libyan passports along with one round-trip plane ticket from Tripoli , Libya to Damascus , Syria were found.

Foreign fighters give up their identities once they enter Iraq and receive false Iraqi identification papers allowing them to move freely throughout the country.

Throughout the past four days of Operation Spear, 33 buildings were damaged or destroyed during combat operations. The only buildings fired upon were those occupied by terrorists or foreign fighters. Several of the buildings were fortified, reinforced and barricaded structures with the windows bricked up and replaced by small rifle firing ports. The terrorists in the buildings were struck either by the main gun rounds of Marine tanks or by air strikes.

The effects of blast damage on surrounding buildings were minimized by commanders carefully choosing the munitions that would destroy the targets without causing unnecessary collateral damage. Currently, Marines have paid 13 Iraqi claimants for damages.

There have been no signs or indications of any large-scale displacement of the citizens of Karabilah. Marines manning the checkpoints outside the city, designed to capture fleeing terrorists, have not reported large numbers of citizens leaving the city.

Additional information concerning Operation Spear will be provided as it becomes available.



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