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Iraqi Security Forces assume control, build trust

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Army News Service, April 25, 2006) – Iraqi Security Forces demonstrated again this week an increased role in the security of their nation as they continued to assume more responsibility, build capabilities and foster trust within Iraqi communities.

During a transfer of authority ceremony April 24 at Forward Operating Base Hotel, the Iraqi Army’s 1st Brigade, 8th Division, assumed security responsibility for nearly 11,583-square-miles of the An Najaf Province.

Col. Saadi Saleh Muhsin of 1st Brigade and Col. Majeed Muhammed Hannoon of 2nd Brigade each assumed responsibility for a battalion sized area of operations as witnessed by Najaf Governor Assad Sultan Al-Taee. Maj. Gen. Othman Ali Farhod, commander of the 8th Iraqi Army Division, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Najaf governor, pledging to work together for peace and stability in region.

“We have seen the 1st Brigade show their mettle and courage by their actions in securing the Arba’een commemoration,” said Col. John Tully, commander of 4th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. “The soldiers of this Brigade willingly risk their lives on a daily basis to support the newly elected Government of Iraq.”

Iraqi Security Forces continue to take the lead as they demonstrate their capabilities through operations and training. Seven Iraqi Army Brigades have already taken the lead in their areas and 4 additional IA battalions are preparing to assume the lead in their areas of operation in the next two months.

Construction of new police station begins

In another effort to build trust and enhance local governance of Iraqi security forces, Multi-National Division – Baghdad’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, has started construction on a police station in Baghdad’s Al-Rasheed district.

“This is a major step for both the government and the Soldiers because now there will be a continued presence in the city, which was impossible before,” said 1st Lt. James Williams, project officer, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The lieutenant said the presence of Iraqi Police will ensure a safer environment for the 50,000 locals who live in the area and help gain the trust in their new government.

“This will be one small step towards the ultimate end state of turning control over to the Iraqi government,” added Maj. Eric McFadden, project manager, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Neutralizing the enemy

Also this week, the continuing effort to neutralize insurgent and terrorist actions bore results as several large weapon caches were discovere, and about a dozen Iraqi men and one woman were detained on suspicion of terrorist activity.

On April 20, Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, found a weapon cache in a new Baghdad neighborhood. The cache consisted of eighty-one 75 mm projectiles, 43 grenades, three 82mm illumination rounds, one 85 mm projectile, two 90mm high-explosive rounds and four 100 mm heat projectiles.

During an April 22 search of two houses in the southwestern suburbs of Baghdad, Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, uncovered two additional weapon caches.

In the first house, the cache consisted of two 55-gallon drums of home-made explosives, two pressure plates, one artillery shell, a home-made rocket launcher, two pipes filled with high-explosive material, a seven-foot missile, a 14.5 mm Dishka heavy artillery machine gun and six anti-tank mines.

Another cache was found in the second house, consisting of eight shape charges, a sniper rifle, five pressure plates, three rocket-propelled grenades, an acetylene tank and two grenades taped to a window. Soldiers also found a note asking other terrorists for help attacking a local Coalition Forces operating base.

In all three weapon cache discoveries, explosive ordnance disposal teams destroyed the ordnance at the site.

(Editor's note: Information provided by Multi-National Force - Iraq.)

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