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Release A051004c

Operation River Gate launched

Multi-National Force-Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – The 2nd Marine Division launched Operation Bawwabatu Annaher, or River Gate in English, in the cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana Oct. 4.

Approximately 2,500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors from Regimental Combat Team – 2 and Iraqi Security force soldiers are participating in the operation, making it the largest operation in the al Anbar province this year.

The operation’s goal is to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the three Euphrates River Valley cities and to free the local citizens from the terrorists’ campaign of murder and intimidation of innocent women, children and men.

Haditha is an important crossroads for al Qaeda in Iraq’s smuggling activities from the Syrian border. Once in Haditha, smugglers can go north to Mosul or continue on to ar Ramadi, Fallujah or Baghdad. The city is home to approximately 75,000 Iraqis, a vital hydro-electric power plant, and 28 schools.

Coalition and Iraqi forces located in western al Anbar province have seen a recent increase of al Qaeda in Iraq violence in Haditha. Last Spring, terrorists attacked Haditha General Hospital, the largest in western al Anbar, with a suicide car bomb, destroying more than half of the building with the explosion and ensuing fire. Terrorists also established fortified firing positions inside the hospital and used patients and staff as human shields as they attacked Marines from the hospital and later retreated from the Marine counterattack.

More information will be released as it becomes available.



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