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American Forces Press Service

Iraqi Army Takes Control of Najaf; U.S. Soldier Killed by IED

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2005 A ceremony celebrating the transfer of authority of Forward Operating Base Hotel in Najaf, Iraq, and the anniversary of the end of hostile activities in Najaf was held at the base Sept. 6, military officials reported.

Members of 1st Battalion, 198th Armor, 155th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), transferred authority of FOB Hotel to the 1st Brigade, 8th Division of the Iraqi army.

The U.S. unit has assisted the people of Najaf since mid-January. Thirty-one projects, costing about $7.5 million, were funded to support the Provincial Reconstruction Development Committee. The projects fell into the areas of water and sanitation, education, transportation, humanitarian assistance, telecommunications, law and governance.

Seventy-five projects are currently in progress, emphasizing electricity, water, sanitation and health care and totaling $37.8 million.

The battalion will relocate to bases throughout the 155th BCT area of operations. Sufficient forces will be available to offer any assistance requested by the Iraqi security forces in control of Najaf and the surrounding area, officials said.

In other operations, a soldier assigned to 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed in action when the vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device Sept. 5 in Ramadi.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Elsewhere, an Iraqi and U.S. Army cordon-and-search operation in western Baghdad led to the discovery of a car bomb in the early-morning hours of Sept. 6.

The operation, designed to capture terrorist cell leaders, members and financiers, also turned up three terror suspects, who were held for questioning.

Soon after the operation began, a local national approached Task Force Baghdad soldiers establishing an outer cordon and gave them a tip about a known terrorist in the neighborhood. The informant led the soldiers to the suspect's house, where they detained him and seized terrorist propaganda.

As the Iraqi and U.S. soldiers continued to search an estimated 300 houses in the area, another Task Force Baghdad unit reported finding possible bomb-making materials at one location.

Two hours later, an Iraqi army unit came across a vehicle with artillery rounds and explosives in it. The engine was still running, and two individuals were found hiding in the bushes nearby. They were detained for further questioning.

A U.S. explosives ordnance disposal team arrived at the site of the car bomb and detonated the explosives.

In other developments, troops from the 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, detained two men in the vicinity of an entry control point in Baghdad Sept. 6.

A grenade, a grenade primer, one old tank penetrator, and two CDs of propaganda from militant Iraqi cleric Muqtada al Sadr were found in their possession. One suspect was drunk. The men are being held for further questioning by authorities.

In other Iraq news, troops from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, detained a man in Hit Sept. 6 after he failed to produce credible identification.

Iraqi troops and coalition forces were questioning locals about an abandoned motorcycle when they spotted the military-aged man trying to sneak out of the area. The man produced photocopied identification and changed stories before finally admitting he was from Baghdad. He was taken into custody for further questioning.

In Kirkuk, a cordon-and-search operation conducted by Iraqi police and coalition troops netted a land mine and other items of interest Sept. 6.

Police officers and troops coordinated the search based on a tip of possible explosives in a house. Inside the home, officers found and confiscated one land mine, three pistols, a motorcycle battery, a trip flare, and one U.S. Army desert camouflage uniform.

The resident of the home, a 65-year-old man, was taken into custody for further questioning.

In other developments, troops from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized), and coalition forces detected a car bomb during a cordon-and-search operation Sept. 6 in Baghdad.

Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal personnel conducted a controlled detonation and neutralized the device. Four people were detained in connection with the incident and are being held for further questioning.

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 37 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties Sept. 5 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities, and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Sorties included a U.S. Air Force Predator that performed an air strike in the vicinity of Qaim. The Predator fired a Hellfire missile against an improvised-explosive-device staging site used by terrorists.

U.S. Air Force F-16s provided close air support to coalition troops in contact with terrorists in the vicinity of Kirkuk. The F-16s dropped two GBU-38 and two GBU-12 500-pound bombs against enemy firing positions.

Other F-16s fired one GBU-38 against a terrorist location in the vicinity of Karabilah with good effects, officials said.

Additional sorties included U.S. Air Force F-16s that provided close air support to coalition troops in the vicinities of Habbaniyah, Shab al Hiri, Tal Afar and Tikrit.

Eight U.S. Air Force and Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. U.S. Air Force and British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft also performed in a non-traditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)


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