'Operation Banzeen' -- Unit ensures no illegal activity at gas station
Saturday, 11 August 2007
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20070811-01
August 11, 2007
‘Operation Banzeen’ -- Unit ensures no illegal activity at gas station
2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq — Soldiers from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, recently launched Operation Banzeen on the eastern side of the Iraqi capital in an effort to stop anyone affiliated with illegal militias from taking gasoline and then selling it on the black market.
Company D, 2-16, currently attached to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, kicked off its operation at the Mashtal gas station. Company C is watching over the Rustamiyah gas station.
1st Lt. Thomas M. Warth, a platoon leader for Co. D, said the Madhi Army militia had been using these gas stations in the area as a way to get money in order to buy weapons, explosively-formed projectiles and to train snipers.
Warth, a native of Manhattan, Kan., said Co. A used to raid the gas station once a week, but once they would leave, militia members would come back in and continue with their operations.
Under “Operation Banzeen,” the plan is to have the two companies show up at their respective gas stations daily in order to maintain a presence.
“I think it’s actually working, too, because the people used to cut each other off and there was chaos at the gas station,” he said.
The people at the end of the line would wait all day and never make it into the gas station. Now, there is fluidity to the traffic and everyone can come and get the gas they need, according to Warth.
With the Coalition presence and assistance by Iraqi Security Forces, the insurgents have not been able to use the gas station and pocket the money they used to. They are losing money, Wrath said, which means they are not able to produce as many EFPs.
“The people who run the gas station definitely want us there,” he said.
Since the Americans started showing up, Wrath said the gas station owners haven’t seen the insurgents come through.
“The gas station is too important to them (the Mahdi Army) to blow it up,” Wrath said.
He added the American presence is already helping the neighborhood, and that the presence will continue for the time being.
“The people like it,” he said. “Before they would get charged more by the Mahdi Army and pushed around. Not anymore.”
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