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Soldiers Work to Make Baghdad's Adhamiyah District Safer for Residents

Feb 08, 2007
BY Sgt. Michael Garrett

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Feb. 8, 2007) - The dead of night covered their movements. Out of their Strykers, down the street and into a courtyard, the Soldiers moved. Kicking in the door at 3 a.m. was just enough to catch their targets off guard. Elements of the 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team had taken two more suspected insurgents off the streets.

Troops from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment were a part of an operation aimed at disrupting insurgent activity in the Shaab and Ur areas of Baghdad's Adhamiyah district Feb. 6, said 2nd Lt. Harry Cromer, company B platoon leader.

The operation started with pin-point raids in the homes of suspected insurgents, then moved to a dirt lot full of abandoned cars and a building where the captured suspects are believed to have made IEDs.

"A lot of anti-Iraqi forces have been operating in this area," said Staff Sgt. Michael Marker, a squad leader for Co. B. "The house we hit this morning is where the guy lived, and this is where he worked."

A search of the building did not produce evidence of any connection with insurgency, but the broken down cars were about to spill their secrets.

"We went through the abandoned cars and found body armor and uniforms," said Marker. "There is no reason for this stuff to be locked up, in an abandoned car in a parking lot," said Cromer. "With these items, insurgents could disguise themselves as Iraqi soldiers."

After finding the body armor and Iraqi uniforms, the Soldiers moved on to a compound which housed a factory and several warehouses. When they finished searching the entire complex, they moved on to a school to see if any officials there had been approached by anyone from the insurgency.

"We're out here to talk to people and see what we can find out about anti-Iraqi forces," said Marker.

Asking the school faculty and residents in the area about their safety was a change in pace from the mission earlier in the day.

"Tips from local Iraqis led to the capture of suspected insurgents during the operation and getting out in the streets and talking to the residents is important in maintaining that type of relationship, said Pfc. Richard McCallum, an infantryman with company B. "Getting them to trust us, and know that we're not here to do them any harm ...that we're here to help is important."

(Sgt. Michael Garrett serves with the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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