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Forces tighten security for Iraqi elections

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 13, 2005) – Most Iraqis are anticipating the upcoming Dec. 15 national elections with enthusiasm, according to a recent poll, and Coalition forces have been busy conducting pre-election security sweeps to remove terrorists from the streets and ensure a safe election day.

Early voting for Iraqi security forces and detainees has already begun. Nearly 90 percent of all eligible detainees in Coalition internment facilities had voted by Dec. 13, Coalition officials said. They said every detainee was afforded the opportunity to vote.

Turnout for the national elections in Iraq is expected to be high, with nearly 90 percent of Iraqis desiring to vote, according to the national poll. It indicates the intent to vote is strong across ethnic and religious lines. Sunni Arabs have the lowest percentage wanting to vote, according to the poll, but their intent is still high at 87 percent. The poll, conducted in November, has a 2 percent margin of error, pollsters say.

The same poll indicates high confidence in Iraqi security forces, with 70 percent of those surveyed believing that Iraqi police and security forces are winning the war against terrorists and will be even more capable next year.

Conference educates women on elections

More than 100 Iraqi women attended an election conference at the Al Rashid District Council building Dec. 10, in Baghdad, to learn more about the upcoming national elections.

Task Force Baghdad Soldiers from Company A, 425th Civil Affairs Battalion helped to organize the conference. Topics covered included the progress of the Iraqi government, the right to vote, the voting process and what to look for in a particular candidate.

Troops conduct pre-election sweeps

Coalition forces throughout Iraq have been conducting pre-election operations, in an effort to make the neighborhoods and polling sites safe for elections.

In pre-election operations in Baghdad, Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment captured three suspected terrorists during a cordon-and-search operation Dec. 9 and on the following day, detained six suspected terrorists and seized a weapons cache. Soldiers from 1/184th Inf. captured three suspected terrorists in the Dora neighborhood on Dec. 9. And Iraqi troops from 1st Bn., 4th Public Order Brigade detained one suspected terrorist in eastern Rasheed, Dec. 9.

In Mosul, Iraqi troops from 3rd Bn., 1st Bde., 3rd Division, along with Iraqi police, detained three suspected terrorists and their weapons Dec. 5.

Iraqi Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 4th Bde., 2nd Div., detained two suspected terrorists during a raid on Dec. 8. Iraqi Soldiers from 1st Bn., 2nd Bde., 1st Div., detained three suspected terrorists Dec. 9. Iraqi Soldiers from 2nd Bn., 2nd Bde., 2nd Div., along with Soldiers from 1/17th Inf. captured suspected terrorists and seized a large weapons cache, which included an anti-aircraft missile launcher with four missiles, during a raid Dec. 12.

Iraqi police detained an individual suspected of placing several improvised explosive devices near an election site during operations Dec.10. Soldiers from 1/17th Inf. detained five suspected terrorists and seized an anti-tank mine, detonators and a timer Dec. 5. Soldiers from the same battalion detained 18 suspected terrorists during operations Dec. 6-10.

Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 11th Field Artillery Regiment detained a suspected terrorist on Dec. 9. Soldiers from 4/ 23rd Inf., detained three suspected terrorists Dec. 10.

In Tal Afar, Soldiers from 2/ 325th Airborne Inf. detained a suspected terrorist and discovered a weapons cache during a raid Dec. 5. Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment detained six suspected terrorists and seized IED-making materials during operations Dec. 9.

(David Vergun compiled this article from a variety of Multi-National Force–Iraq, 3rd Infantry Division and U.S. Central Command press releases.)

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