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Release A051016d

Marines, Iraqi security forces wrap up referendum security operations in al Anbar Province

Multi-National Force-Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Members of 2d Marine Division and Iraqi security forces wrapped up security operations Oct. 16 in support of the Constitutional Referendum in al Anbar Province. The voter turnout in the province was far better than what it was during the national elections held last January, with more than 100,000 eligible voters participating in the process.

“I am extremely pleased with the role 2d Marine Division and our partners in the Iraqi security forces played in helping to provide a safe and secure environment for the citizens of al Anbar to go to the polls,” said 2d Marine Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck. “Together we provided security for 139 polling sites, allowing every citizen the opportunity to vote.”

Part of the success from the Oct. 15 vote can be attributed to recent and ongoing operations conducted by Coalition and Iraqi security forces in the western Euphrates River Valley. Major operations such as Iron Fist, River Gate and Mountaineers, along with numerous smaller operations neutralized the terrorist’s stated goal of disrupting the referendum. These operations have uncovered dozens of seized weapons caches, resulted in the detention of hundreds of suspected insurgents and eliminated terrorist sanctuaries throughout the province.

In the end, however, it was the Iraqi people who chose to participate in the political process, and “the people of the al Anbar province have shown that they have rejected the Al Qaeda in Iraq agenda,” said Huck. “We will continue to do our part to promote democracy and provide for a secure Iraq. We are hopeful that participation by the Iraqi people is even greater in December’s elections.”

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