While the news from the fighting along the Euphrates River has been sparse of late, the Coalition continues to conduct operations in western Anbar. At this point in time, Operation River Gate mainly consists of targeted raids and searches for insurgent infrastructure such as weapons factories and ammunition dump. There have been twenty six caches of weapons uncovered since River Gate began. The latest find in the town of Anah (near Rawah) was enormous, and the discovery lead to further finds nearby.
The Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, assigned to Regimental Combat Team-2, were searching a car bomb factory that was destroyed by Coalition air strikes recently, when they noticed freshly moved dirt. A twenty-foot storage container was uncovered after several minutes of digging.
More than 1,000 122 mm artillery rounds were discovered, along with approximately 40,000 armor piercing bullets, 1,000 .50 caliber rounds, detonation cord and various bomb-making materials. After the cache site was destroyed, more munitions were found buried nearby
The effort required to create this storage dump and move the material to the location cannot be underestimated. The quantity of munitions captured is staggering. Hundreds of IEDs could be assembled with the artillery rounds alone, and the armor piercing rounds, in the hands of insurgent snipers, pose a specific threat to U.S. Marines and soldiers as they can negate the life protecting body armor worn by the servicemen. The insurgency has limited resources, and the denial of the Euphrates River basin as a base of operations will, over time, impact the insurgency’s ability to effectively conduct attacks on Coalition forces and the Iraqi people.
Photographs compliments of the 2nd Marine Division
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