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Release A051105f

Operation Steel Curtain Update

Multi-National Force-Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2,500 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers continue Operation al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in Husaybah, near the Iraq-Syria border.

The force is moving through the city to restore security along the border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network operating throughout the region. Husaybah is one of the main centers for transiting foreign fighters, equipment and money into Iraq.

The Iraqi and U.S. forces have encountered sporadic resistance – mostly small arms fire and improvised explosive devices - from al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists throughout the city. Members of the Iraqi scout platoons, specially recruited soldiers from the al Qaim region, are embedded with U.S. and Iraqi infantry companies and are helping to identify terrorist strong points and areas known to contain these homemade bombs.

A combination of six bombs and mines has been discovered so far. Additionally, a suspected suicide car bomb was destroyed this morning by a Coalition air strike.

A total of nine Coalition air strikes have been conducted on enemy strong points throughout the day. Only buildings occupied by terrorists firing on Marines and Iraqi Soldiers have been targeted. As with all coalition operations, strict measures are taken to prevent civilian casualties and unnecessary collateral damage to property. The number of terrorists killed in the strikes is unconfirmed at this time.

Iraqi Soldiers established a temporary lodging area in a vacant housing district in Husaybah to be used by residents who have been temporarily displaced by the operation. Iraqi and Coalition forces have accepted approximately 400 residents and are providing them with billeting, food and security.

There are no reports of Iraqi Soldier, civilian or U.S. military fatalities.

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 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 for the Iraqi people in that region to vote in the Dec. 15 national elections.



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