Task Force 145, the mix of special operations forces assigned to hunt Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda in Iraq leaderships and cells, appears to have struck again, this time in Julaybah, an area “identified as a terrorist safe haven” which is located about 8 miles east of Ramadi. Three terrorists were killed and four captured during the fight. The Multinational Forces – Iraq press release provides an overview of the engagement:
Upon arrival… the Coalition troops began receiving rifle and machine gun fire. The terrorists then began to launch ineffective mortar fire from across a nearby river. Coalition Forces neutralized both the direct and indirect fire with small arms fire and close air support and simultaneously raided five structures, associated hide outs and vehicles. After killing three terrorists and detaining four others, the troops conducted a thorough search of the area. They found six affiliated vehicles, three of which were loaded with various weapons and explosives to include rifles, mortars and improvised explosive device material. The troops also uncovered numerous weapons caches with AK-47’s, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds and IED material… Five safe houses, six cars, and all lethal material were destroyed on target.
Again, the tell-tail signs of a Task Force 145 operation are contained within the Multinational Forces – Iraq press release: vague details of the strike, an unidentified Coalition unit and unnamed air support, the targeting of an al Qaeda cell, a suspected “wanted terrorist” on the target list (it is unknown if he was killed or captured during the raid), and the swift raids on multiple targets.
The raid in Julaybah is the latest in a series of TF-145 operations over the past month, which included Yusifayah, Balad, Baghdad, Samarra and Karbala. The targeting indicates al Qaeda is concentrating in and around Baghdad, which squares with the recently seized al Qaeda gameplan for the battle of Baghdad.These raids have netted the unedited Zarqawi tapes and internal al Qaeda communications, as well as senior Ansar al-Islam commander and veteran jihadi Ali Wali, along with senior al Qaeda commander Abu Aisha. Scores of al Qaeda terrorists have been killed or captured over the past month.
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