Day five of Operations River Gate has ended. Coalition forces continue to clear the cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana. Over two hundred suspected insurgents have been captured, and seven have been reported killed since the operation began. Marines and soldiers are still encountering resistance. Two soldiers were killed during a firefight in Haqlaniyah.
al Qaeda has had no compunctions about using religious shrines and places of worship to mask their activities. More details emerge on al Qaeda’s infrastructure in Haditha as a comprehensive house-to-house search continues.
Iraqi Security Forces discovered sophisticated propaganda production equipment in a house while conducting deliberate clearing operations. The seizure included numerous prepared Al Qaeda in Iraq compact discs and audio tapes, three computers, several printers, banner makers, multi-disc copiers and thousands of blank discs and tapes.
Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces also discovered a bomb-making factory in Haditha. The site included numerous pre-wired bombs, several mortar rounds and bomb-making supplies such as explosive propellant, blasting caps and detonation cord.
al Qaeda will lose Haditha as an important base. As al Qaeda’s bases are destroyed and areas of operation are reduced, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the commander of al Qaeda in Iraq, lashes out. Zarqawi declares civilians are legitimate targets; “Islam does not differentiate between civilians and military (targets) but rather distinguishes between Muslims and infidels… Muslim blood must be spared … but it is permissible to spill infidel blood.” Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.