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Operation Raider Harvest holding phase begins (Diyala)

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Saturday, 12 January 2008
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20080113-01
January 13, 2008

Operation Raider Harvest holding phase begins (Diyala)

4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division PAO

Multi-National Division – North PAO

TIKRIT, Iraq – Raider Harvest, an operation designed to clear al-Qaeda in Iraq from the northern Diyala River Valley, and keep them out, will soon switch into the holding phase as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix.

During the clearing phase, which began Jan. 8 and is currently ongoing, Coalition Forces killed four enemy fighters, wounded another four and detained 24 individuals.

In addition, CF also discovered and cleared 13 improvised explosive devices, 10 vehicleborn IEDs, four house-born IEDs and 15 weapon caches.

The northern DRV area, know as the ‘bread basket,’ was a traditional safe haven for AQI in Diyala province. Raider Harvest is not only clearing the enemy from this area, but also ensuring that they are unable to return.

“Although decisive, the combat operations will likely not have as great of an effect as the next phases,” said Lt. Col. James Brown, executive officer of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, the unit conducting Raider Harvest.

“The big part of it is that now the area will be tied to Muqdadiyah, its closest and largest urban center, and Muqdadiyah will be tied to the province, so the chain of communication between local villages and the Iraqi government will be established. That chain was not there before, so the local people were ripe for AQI to fill that need for them. Now that the link has been established, the government will be able to provide what the people need, which will end AQI’s foothold in the area,” Brown said.

“As we transition into the next phase, you will essentially see a planting of the Iraqi flag in the northern DRV,” Brown continued. “You will start to see Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police, which up until this point, had not patrolled in this area, and here shortly, you will see the linkage between the provincial leaders and the local leaders.”

One aspect of the next phases of the operation is the building of at least one Joint Combat Outpost in the area.

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