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American Forces Press Service

Combined Operation Nets Insurgents, Weapons in Baghdad

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2007 – Several insurgents were captured and a weapons cache was found during a combined security operation that was kicked off today in the Haifa Street area of Baghdad, officials said.

Seven suspected insurgents have been detained and a weapons cache uncovered as Iraqi army, Iraqi national police and coalition forces continued a combined security operation on Haifa Street.

Operation Tomahawk Strike 11 is a series of targeted raids to disrupt illegal militia activity and help restore Iraqi security force control in the area, officials said. As the operation commenced early this morning, coalition and Iraqi forces were engaged by an enemy mortar team. A single mortar round was launched by coalition forces, and the insurgent mortar team dispersed.

At dawn, troops met enemy resistance, including hand-held grenades, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from high-rise buildings in the area. Direct, indirect and air support fire were used in support of troops in contact from high-rise buildings. Combined forces continue to clear objectives despite resistance from insurgent forces, officials said.

Operation Tomahawk 11 has resulted in the seizure of a weapons cache where numerous RPG rounds, anti-tank rounds and 155 mm artillery munitions were uncovered.

Soldiers with the 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, officers from the 5th Iraqi National Police Brigade and elements of the U.S. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division initiated raids as part of Operation Tomahawk Strike 11 on Haifa Street to disrupt illegal militia activity and help restore Iraq security force control in the area.

The mission is not designed to solely target Sunni insurgents, but rather is aimed at rapidly isolating insurgents and gaining control of this key central Baghdad location, officials said. Reducing sectarian violence is vital in transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqi security forces and provides a safer living environment for Iraqi residents, officials added.

In other news, three suspected terrorists were captured today during a raid conducted north of Baghdad that targeted an individual with ties to a senior al Qaeda leader who has executed Iraqi civilians and conducted extortion operations against the Iraqi people.

During the raid, coalition forces used a small explosives charge to gain entrance into a known terrorist safe house. Once inside, coalition forces detained the targeted individual and two others.

Coalition forces provided immediate medical care to a 12-year old boy who was injured during the operation. Coalition forces evacuated the child to a local medical facility, but he died upon arrival. Coalition officials expressed regret over the child's death and said they strive to mitigate risks to civilians while in pursuit of terrorists.

Also, American soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, treated seriously wounded civilians after an improvised explosive device detonated mid-afternoon in a market in Khalis, Iraq, on Jan. 22. The explosion killed 12 citizens and injured 29 others.

A majority of the injured were taken to Khalis and Baqubah hospitals for treatment. However, 10 other seriously wounded people were transferred to Forward Operating Base Warhorse, where soldiers from 215th Brigade Support Battalion, a medical company from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, provided immediate trauma care to stabilize them. Six other injured civilians were further evacuated to Logistical Support Area Anaconda.

Enemy forces detonated the IED targeting Shiite citizens living in the area, according to a U.S. military official.

"These terrorists continue to target innocent people," Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and senior U.S. Army officer in the Diyala province, said. "The local people are outraged at the actions of these terrorists, who are committed to preventing the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous province."

Terrorism has no place in any civilized society, Sutherland said, noting the local populace continues to support Iraqi security forces in the fight against terrorism.

"Only with the support of the people of Diyala, the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, will they be able to establish a secure environment for all Iraqis. Al Qaeda knows this, and continues to target the honorable people in the province," Sutherland said.

Iraqi police are investigating the incident.

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