The establishment of permanent bases in Sa’dah near the Syrian border during Operation Iron Fist is paying dividends. In two separate raids over the weekend, twenty five terrorists were killed and one captured. Raids during the past two days have yielded similar results.
Yesterday, Coalition forces targeted terrorist in the towns of Husaybah and Karabilah. Four suspects were arrested and two car bombs were neutralized. Today, Coalition forces, based on local intelligence from multiple sources, conducted raids in the town of Ushsh. Six terrorists were captured and several others are believed to have been killed. The terrorists continue to use non-combatants as human shields. CENTCOM describes the raid on a particular safe house:
Upon arriving at the suspected terrorist safe house, Coalition forces entered the safe house where armed terrorists were located with women and children. As a result of the ensuing exchange of gunfire between the terrorists and Coalition forces, the suicide vest of one of the terrorists was detonated, causing the building’s roof to collapse. The women and children were rescued from the rubble and treated by medical personnel. The group was then moved to a safe area.
The bases in Sa’dah have driven a wedge between al Qaeda fighters and their lines of communication to the border; combined with the outpost in Husaybah (Camp Gannon) the Coalition has segmented the far end of the insurgency’s ratline. Tips and local intelligence are more forthcoming due to the permanent presence in the region, and this information is being exploited by the Marines on the ground.
Four individual ground raids in four days have netted well over thirty terrorists, all with the use of ground forces. The Marines are staying put in the Qaim region and making their presence known, and Iraqi troops, when ready, will not be far behind.
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