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'Arrowhead Ripper' continues to pressure al-Qaida

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Friday, 22 June 2007
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

RELEASE No. 20070622-07
June 22, 2007

‘Arrowhead Ripper’ continues to pressure al-Qaida
Multi-National Division – North PAO

BAQOUBA, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces teamed with Task Force Lightning units, Thursday, to clear Baqouba and surrounding areas as Operation Arrowhead Ripper continued.

“We are shoulder-to-shoulder with Iraqi Security Forces in this fight,” said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general, operations, and commander of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. “Specifically the 5th Iraqi Army Division led by Maj. Gen. Saleem Kariem Ali Alotbei, along with the provincial director of police, Maj. Gen. Ganim, have provided the Iraqi security forces to the fight.
The weeks ahead are absolutely key in not only holding and retaining the ground that is cleared in partnership with Coalition Forces, but also in building trust and confidence with the citizens of Diyala.”

In support of the operation, attack helicopters from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Squadron, 82nd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion provided assistance to Iraqi and Coalition ground forces, killing at least 13 al-Qaida operatives and destroying an al-Qaida compound during the second day of the operation.

“Over the last three days, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade has provided Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition infantry brigade combat teams, attack, scout and transportation helicopters. These assets give Coalition and Iraqi ground forces the added support they need to eliminate or contain al-Qaida during operation Arrowhead Ripper in Baqouba,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Baker, deputy commanding officer, 25th CAB.

In a separate engagement, CF Soldiers discovered an empty school complex rigged with explosives in Baqouba, the capital city of Diyala province, Thursday, during Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment discovered the booby-trapped school complex. An investigation of the area determined the school and surrounding buildings had been abandoned.

CF had to destroy the school due to risk to the community. CF were unable to disable the explosives because of instability. Ground forces effectively coordinated a precisions guided munitions strike and successfully destroyed the school-borne IED. There were no civilian injuries or deaths as a result of this action.

“Jointly with ISF, and the citizens of Baqouba, we are beginning to root out al-Qaida operatives and safely neutralize their traps,” said Bednarek.

As Arrowhead Ripper continued through June 21, at least 51 al-Qaida operatives have been killed, with 20 al-Qaida operatives detained, seven weapons caches discovered, 21 improvised explosive devices destroyed and nine booby-trapped structures destroyed.



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