Iraq Report: Targeting the IED cells
As operations are ongoing in Baghdad, the Belts, and in the north against al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed cells, roadside and suicide bomb factories and cells remain a priority for Iraqi and Coalition forces. The fighting in Diyala has switched to the outlying areas of Baqubah, as a senior member of an Iranian Shia terror cell was captured south of Baghdad. Also, raids against al Qaeda's network nationwide on Wednesday resulted in 3 operatives killed and 29 captured.
While the city of Baqubah is largely secured, the fighting in Diyala is now occurring in the Diyala River Valley. U.S. forces killed 25 al Qaeda operatives and captured five during a three-day operation near the town of Mukhisa. "During a patrol along the Diyala River near Baqubah, Coalition Forces were engaged by three men with rifles and military-style assault vests from across the river," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "Coalition Forces determined the enemy fire was coming from an organized terrorist force," then engaged and destroyed the enemy positions. "Searches of the area during the operation uncovered weapons caches containing fire extinguishers rigged as improvised explosive devices, mortar rounds, RPG rounds and small arms."
The Iraqi Army is operating in the Hadeed village on the road to Baghdad. Two al Qaeda operatives were killed and eight captured while securing the town of Auhaimer.
On July 1, U.S. forces found and destroyed "a homemade explosives factory" near the village of Mikbisa in the Diyala River Valley. " CF [Coalition Forces] discovered large amounts of fertilizer, ammonium nitrate and nitric acid, all key ingredients used in making explosives," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "The house also contained a drying room in which the entire floor was covered with over 500 lbs of recently manufactured HME [Home Made Explosives]. Additionally, a number of chemical suits and other clothing items used to work with chemicals, to include boots, goggles, vapor masks and a large number of chemical gloves were found inside the house."
Yesterday, Multinational Forces West reported on a major raid against an al Qaeda military team just south of Ramadi. Twenty-five al Qaeda were killed and five captured after at least 35 fighters massed to attack in Ramadi.
Today, Coalition forces killed 10 al Qaeda operatives and captured five during targeted raids in western Anbar province. On July 2, Iraqi Army Forces found and destroyed an al Qaeda IED factory "which contained homemade explosives, nitric acid containers and numerous other hidden explosives, on a remote compound in the vicinity of Karmah."
Iraqi and U.S. forces are working hard to disrupt al Qaeda's network in Mosul and greater Ninewa province to prevent this region from becoming a fall back position for the terror network. Iraqi Security Forces captured "an alleged insurgent religious leader ... responsible for the planning of attacks in the Mosul area on Iraqi and Coalition Forces" along with three associated during a raid on July 3. An al-Qaeda terror cell financier and two associates were captured during targeted raids on July 4.
On July 1, Iraqi Army soldiers captured two members of an IED cell in Mosul, and found "over 30 cylindrical oxygen tanks, 10 55-gallon drums of ball bearings and 200 military entrenching tools in a vacant lot at the source of the attack."
Clearing operations continue as almost half of Baghdad is now deemed secured by Multinational Forces Iraq. U.S. troops captured "three suspects with known terrorist connections and nine other associates" in the Adhamiyah District on July 2.
Iraqi police defeated a nighttime assault by four "alleged Al Qaeda members on a checkpoint in the western Rashid District July 2." One operative was killed and one was captured after his suicide vest failed to detonate.
Al Qaeda anti-aircraft teams scored a victory by shooting down an OH-58D Kiowa Attack helicopter south of Baghdad. The pilots survived and were rescued, while the downed copter was destroyed to prevent equipment to fall in enemy hands. On July 1, Coalition aircraft destroyed a ZPU-1 anti-aircraft gun and a 120mm mortar system near Iskandariyah.
Coalition forces built a new battle position in the region between Mahmudiyah and Yusifiyah, and captured nine insurgents while building the outpost. "The battle position, strategically placed in the area which has long been a central terrorist haven, will provide a center for operations in the area," Multinational Forces Iraq reported.
Paratroopers discovered, then destroyed, three al Qaeda safe houses "used by al Qaeda to meet, train and hide weapons" as well as manufacture IEDs and propaganda during an early-morning air assault near Jurf As Sukhr July 3.
The Iranian Cells
The raids against the "rogue Mahdi Army," "Secret Cells," and "Special Groups" - all of which are backed by Iran - continue as U.S. and Iraqi forces press the attack against al Qaeda nationwide. Iraqi Police captured "the alleged brigade commander of a rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) militia in Mahawil" along with three accomplices on July 1. "He is directly responsible for directing attacks using explosively-formed projectiles and improvised explosive devices on the Iraqi Police, the Iraqi Army, and Coalition Forces ... He is also reportedly the JAM Special Groups Leader in Mahawil and Al Imam."
U.S. Apache attack helicopter crews destroyed a rocket launcher and several vehicles inside Sadr City as the Shia terrorists attempted to strike at the Green Zone.