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Release A051105c

U.S. and Iraqi forces launch Operation Steel Curtain

Multi-National Force-Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Approximately 2,500 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers with Regimental Combat Team-2 and 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers began Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in western Al Anbar Nov. 5.

The objectives of Operation Steel Curtain are to restore security along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terror network operating throughout Husaybah.

The operation follows on the heels of Operations Iron Fist and River Gate. During Operation Steel Curtain, elements of the 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division and specially trained scout platoons recruited from the Al Qaim region will take part in this operation.

Since early summer, the combat capabilities of the Iraqi forces have grown in Al Anbar province. Iraqi security forces now include almost two full infantry divisions of Iraqi Army Soldiers. During the past six months, two division headquarters have formed in the province, four brigade headquarters and ten infantry battalions have deployed to the Al Anbar to join the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq led insurgency. Operation Steel Curtain marks the first large-scale employment of multiple battalion-sized units of Iraqi Army forces in combined operations with Coalition Forces in the last year in al Anbar Province.

Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists have used the region’s porous borders to smuggle foreign fighters, money and equipment into the country to be used in their ongoing attacks against the Iraqi people and Coalition Forces. Terrorists continue to influence the local population of Husaybah through murder and intimidation and have vowed to prevent the citizens of Western Al Anbar Province from participating in the democratic process.

The offensive is part of Operation Sayaid (Hunter) designed to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a joint permanent security presence along the Syrian border. By eliminating terrorist influence in and around Husaybah, Coalition and Iraqi security forces are providing a safe and secure environment to allow the Iraqi people in that region to vote in the upcoming Dec. 15 national elections.

Additional information concerning the progress of Operation Steel Curtain will be provided as it becomes available.

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TO OBTAIN THE PHOTOS ASSOCITATE WITH THIS RELEASE, CONTACT 2ND MARINE DIVISION PUBLIC AFFAIRS: PoolJS@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil

(CUTLINES:)

Col Stephen W. Davis, commanding officer, Regimental Combat Team-2, prepares to board a helicopter at Al Asad Airbase in preparation for Operation Steel Curtain that began this morning. The objective of Operation Steel Curtain is to destroy the Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network that has been operating throughout Husaybah, located on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Marines board helicopters at Al Asad Airbase in preparation for Operation Steel Curtain that began in the early this morning. The objective of Operation Steel Curtain is to destroy the Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network that has been operating throughout Husaybah, located on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS RELEASE, CONTACT 2ND MARINE DIVISION PUBLIC AFFAIRS: PoolJS@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil

 



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