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Operation Market Sweep

January 13, 2004

Soldiers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment executed Operation Market Sweep, on or about January 13, 2004, becoming the first Coalition troops to successfully penetrate the weapons market in downtown Fallujah.

Coalition forces had previously made attempts to confiscate arms from this area, but many of those selling weapons in the market had eluded capture. The earlier missions had resulted in the capture of only a few individuals. That left numerous men able to continue trading arms.

Prior to Operation Market Sweep, more traditional methods of approaching the downtown market had been used. The 1st Battalion of the 505th, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, used different techniques.

Nearly an entire battalion of troops approached the market by zigzagging through the streets, ensuring not to reveal the area in which they were going to stop. They then sealed off two key bridges leading to the market, so that no one could enter or flee. Finally, a group of paratroopers, undetected by the black market dealers, entered the market area and conducted precision searches of several different stores.

The soldiers had confiscated more than 100 rifles, two heavy machine guns, 6,500 round of ammunition, 18 rockets, 244 grenades, 150 mortars and various explosive devices, including 17 pre-manufactured improvised explosive devices. During the operation more than 60 people were captured.

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