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American Forces Press Service

Operation Arrowhead Ripper Makes Headway in Baqubah

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2007 – Iraqi and U.S. troops continue to clear out insurgents in Baqubah and distribute aid to its citizens as part of ongoing Operation Arrowhead Ripper, and recent terrorist bombings in Baghdad have killed 15 Iraqis and wounded 23 others, U.S. officials reported.

Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers operating in Baqubah yesterday continued to clear the city of insurgents while providing humanitarian aid to its citizens as Operation Arrowhead Ripper entered its ninth day.

Iraqi and U.S. security forces have provided Baqubah’s citizens about 265,000 pounds of rice and flour, more than 10,000 vegetarian rations, and thousands of bottles of water since the operation began.

At least 60 al Qaeda operatives have been killed, 74 have been detained, 31 weapons caches have been discovered, 81 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed and 18 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed since the operation began.

U.S. helicopter crews returned ground fire and killed one insurgent and wounded another during an engagement south of Baghdad June 26.

Two AH-64 Apache helicopters assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade were fired on by insurgents inside a building. The helicopters returned fire with 30 mm rounds. Paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, were called to search the building and immediate area for insurgents. The wounded insurgent was taken to a local hospital for treatment and will be taken into custody by the Iraqi army.

In other news, Iraqi police from Khalis broke up a gunfight between Iraqi residents of two neighboring villages June 26. The police were dispatched in response to reports that al Koubat villagers were being attacked by members of the Tohoyla village.

The gunfire stopped upon the arrival of the Iraqi police, who discovered that four local Iraqis had been killed and 19 others were wounded. Two Iraqi police were wounded during the altercation. The police secured the scene, provided first aid and transported the wounded to Khalis’s local hospital for further treatment.

American soldiers with the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, also responded to the attack and assisted Iraqi police in securing the area.

Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers assigned to Troop A, 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, killed two gunmen during an engagement near Thurah on June 26.

The U.S. soldiers were conducting security operations in the area when they were attacked by three gunmen armed with AK-47s. The Americans killed one of the gunmen, but his comrades then counter-attacked with rocket-propelled grenades. The U.S. soldiers then chased the remaining gunmen into a building.

The second gunman was killed in the ensuing firefight, while the third insurgent fled the area. There were no U.S. casualties. Small arms and ammunition, a grenade, and an improvised explosive device were found inside the building.

In other news, U.S. soldiers found 11 roadside bombs and defeated insurgent attacks while patrolling Baghdad’s Rashid district June 25 and 26.

“The continued discovery of roadside bombs before they can be used against innocent Iraqis or our forces is a strong indication that the people are growing tired of the violence in Rashid,” Army Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 1st Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said.

The U.S. troops defeated enemy forces in two separate engagements in East Rashid over a 24-hour period. Several extremists shot at a U.S. patrol on June 26. American helicopters fired on and killed two extremists. A third extremist was wounded and later detained. Troops detained four more suspects for further questioning.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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