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Operation Iron Fist
Operation Kabda Bil Hadid

October 1, 2005 - October 6, 2005

On October 1, 2005 a force consisting of approximately 1,000 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors from Regimental Combat Team-2 launched Operation Iron Fist, or Kabda Bil Hadid in Arabic. The goal of the operation was to disrupt the insurgent activity based out of Sadah, a town in the al Anbar province located 12 km from the Syrian border. The Iron Fist offensive is part of Operation Hunter, a larger operation to deny insurgents the ability to operate out of the Euphrates River Valley.

Insurgents were achieving increased mobility and control of the region as a result of a campaign of violence and intimidation against the local population and the town's government officials. This permitted the insurgents to utilize Sadah as a staging base for attacks against civilians as well as coalition and Iraqi Security forces.

Operation Iron Fist also aimed to stem the flow of foreign fighters from the Syrian border to create a secure environment for the constitutional referendum that took place on October 15, 2005.

Coalition forces engaged the insurgents with the support of helicopters from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, killing eight armed insurgents in the early fighting. Insurgents countered by driving two vehicles towards the Marine position, dismounting, and opening fire with small arms. One of the vehicles was rigged with explosives, and four of the attackers were killed while the fifth surrendered.

Later in the day, Marines discovered and destroyed a roadside bomb and a single round from the main gun of a M1A1 Main Battle Tank was used to destroy a car bomb. At a U.S. forces checkpoint three insurgents were killed after firing upon the troops.

Insurgents also targeted an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade launched from a vehicle. The helicopter returned fire with missiles and destroyed the vehicle, killing the assailant, and then destroyed an accompanying vehicle that had been carrying additional RPGs.

As fighting continued on to the second day, Marine aircraft engaged insurgents west of Sadah, killing four and forcing the remaining three to flee into a nearby building containing additional insurgent fighters. Aircraft were then used to attack the building.

In an incident around noon on October 2, insurgents forcibly entered a civilian building and began to fire at Coalition troops. Marines resorted to firing a round from an M1A1 tank into the building which injured five civilians, four of whom were treated for minor injuries while the fifth was evacuated to Baghdad.

Other activity during the operation included a suicide car bomber who prematurely detonated his vehicle as well as an insurgent attack with RPGs and small arms fire. When Marines returned fire they killed eight insurgents.

On October 5, a section of M1A1 Abrams tanks supporting military infantry under small-arms attack in Karabilah killed two insurgents. On the same day, east of Karabilah, insurgents fired upon Marines from positions inside buildings. Seven insurgents were killed after aviation assets were called in to destroy the buildings.

Coalition aircraft were also employed to drop four precision-guided bombs on an abandoned hotel in Husavbah on Oct. 5. The three-story hotel had been used by insurgents to stage attacks and store weapons and 20 insurgents were killed in the strike.

The operation was concluded on Oct. 6 after establishing new outposts in Sadah to maintain a presence in the area and conduct ongoing operations to stem the flow of foreign fighters entering from Syria. Coalition forces reported that more than 50 insurgents were killed.