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Soldiers find weapons caches on Euphrates island

By Pfc. Kelly K. McDowell

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Nov. 30, 2005) -- Task Force Baghdad Soldiers found multiple weapons caches on an island in the Euphrates River Nov. 28.

Military officials had been monitoring suspicious activity near the Euphrates River southwest of Baghdad for a couple of weeks. When conditions were right, Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division sprung into action.

“The timing was right to attack the target,” said 2nd BCT Commander Col. Todd Ebel. “The pieces of the puzzle fit close enough.”

Bombs, rockets, grenades found

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment secured the objective and discovered three significant weapons caches.

Soldiers also searched surrounding homes and facilities, detaining two suspected terrorists.

In total, the Soldiers uncovered 11 500-pound bomb shells, C4 explosives, welding equipment, mortar rounds, miscellaneous bomb-making material, 57mm rockets, 40 bags of fertilizer, 12 directional charges, five 155mm rounds, 100 feet of detonation cord, three rocket-propelled grenades, eight bags of 20mm rounds and other munitions and explosives.

An explosive ordinance disposal team was called to the site to conduct a controlled detonation of the caches.

“The large bombs and welding material are critical,” Ebel said. “It is likely this material was used for improvised explosive devices and possibly vehicle-borne IEDs that threaten Iraqi citizens and Coalition Forces. I could not be more proud of these 2/101st Soldiers. They do this every day to help bring peace. No one could ask more of them.”

`Thunder Blitz’ nabs 33 terror suspects

Task Force Baghdad Soldiers teamed up with Iraqi Security Forces to conduct Operation Thunder Blitz in southern Baghdad the next day, Nov. 29, resulting in the capture of 33 terror suspects.

Moving rapidly into the area, hundreds of U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi forces from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Commando Brigade (Wolf Battalion) took the enemy by surprise by securing seven different objective areas along the Tigris River.

Operation Thunder Blitz was focused on removing weapons and terrorists from the streets prior to the Dec. 15 elections.

(Editor’s note: Pfc. Kelly K. McDowell serves with the 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division PAO. Maj. Alayne Conway, 4th BCT PAO, 3rd Infantry Division, also contributed to this story.)

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