As we mentioned yesterday, Operation Steel Curtain was not stopping at Husaybah or Karabilah, but would likely push further eastward and address insurgent activity in the towns of Ushsh and Ubaydi. The troops of Steel Curtain are maintaining the pressure and have now shifted the focus of combat operations to Ubaydi. This town was the location of the stiffest insurgent resistance during Operation Matador and another stronghold of the insurgency out west.
The CENTCOM report indicates “Insurgent fighters have been battling with Iraqi and Coalition forces since the operation began at dawn”, indicating an active resistance by the insurgents holed up in the town. Colonel Stephen Davis, the commander of Regimental Combat Team – 2, anticipated a tough battle to dislodge the insurgents; “This is a fight all the way through the city. This area is well bunkered especially up the southwest portion, but it’s what we expected.” An estimated 45 insurgents have been killed and another 25 have been taken prisoner.
Also note the CENTCOM report refers to the engagement in Ubaydi as a “phase” of Steel Curtain. It is unclear if the assault on Ubaydi is the final phase of the operation, or if there is more work to be done. Based on the tempo of recent operations, it would seem reasonable to speculate there is more to come.
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