The assault on al Qaeda’s network and leaders along the western Euphrates River Valley proceeds apace. Five regional leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq have been confirmed killed in an airstrike in Husaybah. Multinational Forces – West gives a breakdown on the leaders killed in the October 29th raids. Among those killed are:
• Abu Asil, a North African terrorist, was the senior AQIZ foreign fighter facilitator in the Al Qaim region and an associate of Zarqawi. His influence stretched across Al Anbar province and he was relied upon to provide foreign fighters and suicide bombers to AQIZ terrorist cells in the region. Asil had contacts throughout the Middle East who were involved in the recruiting, transportation, training and smuggling of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into Iraq.
• Abu Raghad, a senior AQIZ foreign fighter terrorist cell leader who operated in the Husaybah area. He was responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing attacks against coalition forces. Those attacks include the emplacement of IEDs and mines and the facilitation, production and use of VBIEDs.
• Abu Talha, an AQIZ terrorist cell leader in the Ubaydi area. Talha directed, planned, coordinated and executed terrorist attacks in and around Ubaydi. Specifically, Talha’s cell was responsible for the production, and emplacement, and implementation of IED and VBIED attacks in the area.
• Abu Usama and Abu Salman, AQIZ terrorist cell leaders in the Husaybah area who were active in carrying out local terrorist attacks. Besides planning and conducting terrorist attacks, they procured weapons such as rockets, anti-aircraft missiles and mines for use against coalition forces. The weapons then would be distributed to their terrorist cells to be used in attacks against Iraqi Security and Coalition forces.
In Sadah, a Libyan terrorist and five others are killed after being trapped in the rubble of a not-so-safe house. He stated he had a suicide vest on and would detonate it, so the MArines of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment obliged and detonated it for him. The Army Times reports others trapped in the house were Libyans as well: “At least two other men remained trapped in the rubble, shouting religious slogans. Like the apparent suicide bomber, he told the interpreter and Iraqi soldiers they were Libyan and had infiltrated through the Syrian border, which lies less than 10 miles west of Sadah.” Three Marines were injured in the combat in Sadah.
The Iraqi Security forces continue to grow and units designated for western Anbar are currently in training. The Desert Protection Force is a reality (as confirmed by Col Stephen Davis, the Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team – 2). According to Major General Lynch these units can make an impact on the region; “They’ve got amazing access to intelligence… These are the people of al Anbar saying ‘We want to be part of evicting the insurgents from our province,’ and they joined to be used in their province.”
The activity level in and around Ramadi remains high. Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and Coalition forces fought insurgents, killing several and uncovering a large weapons cache. A cell leader named Essa Jalabawi was captured in the city and was dimed out by other captured terrorists. Ramadi continues to remain a security challenge.
In Baghdad, Iraqi Security Forces remain vigilant as violence is expected to increase at the election nears and the Muslim holiday of Eid begins. The famed Wolf Brigade raided a safe house in southern Baghdad and uncovered a bomb factory. Four terrorists were captured. In a separate raid, two terrorists are killed, and a third, who holds a Lebanese passport, is captured.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, two insurgents die in a “work accident” as their car bomb suffered from premature detonation. “Route Irish” , the notorious road from Baghdad Airport to the city, has seen a marked decrease in attacks; “Between April and June, 14 car bombs went off along the airport road, called Route Irish by the military. There were 48 roadside bombs, officially known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and 80 small-arms attacks. Sixteen people were killed. In the past two months, there have been no car bombs and nine IEDs. One Iraqi soldier has been killed.” The success is chalked up to improving tactics and altering the operations along the route.
In Buhriz, insurgents attacked a Iraqi police checkpoint en masse, and are repelled. Six Iraqi police are killed and ten are wounded, but the insurgents failed to overrun their position. Long gone are the days when Iraqi forces flee the battle; today they stand and fight.
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