Coalition Forces Rout al Qaeda Elements South of Ramadi

Twenty-three terrorists killed after massing on Donkey Island

Ramadi and Donkey Island. Click to view.

U.S. Army forces, with the help of Iraqi police, beat back an attempted al Qaeda in Iraq assault on Ramadi on June 30 and July 1. At least 23 insurgents “affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq” were killed in a series of raids against Donkey Island, which sits about 3 miles south of Ramadi. “Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces received reports that a significant number of anti-Iraqi forces had gathered on the outskirts of Ramadi to stage a series of large scale attacks,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “The group, affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq, intended to regain a base of operations in Al Anbar with suicide car and vest bomb attacks.”

Major Jeff Pool, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Force West, stated in an email that Iraqi Police in the region provided the intelligence on the insurgent force at Donkey Island.

Multinational Force West provides a detailed account of the battles, which consisted of ground attacks backed by Apache helicopter gunships and fixed wing fighter-bombers. Several of the insurgents had suicide vests, and a sophisticated bunker complex and fighting positions were discovered and destroyed.

The battle began at approximately 9:20 p.m. Saturday when Coalition Forces were attacked with small arms fire from two trucks near their position. U.S. Soldiers returned fire and pursued the fleeing attackers with the help of Army AH-64A Apache helicopter gun ships, Marine F-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier fighter jets. Helicopters killed at least one insurgent and wounded another, and destroyed the two trucks, later determined to be loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives.

A detailed search of the area at 5 a.m. Sunday discovered 22 dead insurgents, including seven who were wearing suicide vests, as well as 24 homemade grenades, 20 pressure plate improvised explosive devices, assault rifles and machine guns, military uniforms, suicide vests and backpacks with first aid kits. Most of the enemy were dressed in similar white dishdashas and white running shoes, an outfit often associated with extremist fighters prepared to kill themselves.

Coalition Forces continued their search for any remaining enemy or weapons caches in the area. Around 2 p.m., extremist forces again attacked with machine gun fire, grenades and a suicide vest. Coalition Forces responded with small arms fire and grenades, killing at least one insurgent. Helicopter gun ships and fighter jets provided aerial surveillance and engaged multiple enemy positions, including the destruction of an enemy bunker complex with precision guided munitions. Coalition Forces detained two enemy fighters and transported them to a military detention facility for questioning.

Major Pool stated that al Qaeda will not concede Anbar province without a fight. “Every assessment I hear says that AQI will not give up Al Anbar even if that means random suicide attacks; anything to keep them relevant.” While it may seem counterintuitive, al Qaeda’s suicide campaign against the tribes and local security forces are what turned the tide against the terror group in Anbar province. “These attacks focusing mainly on Iraqi Security Forces and infrastructure represent acts of desperation on the part of AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq],” Major Pool said. “Al Qaeda suicide attacks against infrastructure or Iraqi police is a set back for AQI not Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.”

The “surge” has helped Multinational Force West capitalize on recent gains in Ramadi and in greater Anbar province. “With our surge forces on deck (13th Marine Expeditionary Unit) we have the additional capacity to go out and find AQI wherever they are hiding,” said Major Pool. “This task is made easier, not easy, by Iraqi Security Forces. Iraqi police provided the information about Donkey Island to military forces in Ramadi.” Brigadier General Charles M. Gurganus, commanding general of Ground Combat Element, Multinational Force West, echoed this sentiment in a recent interview at The Long War Journal on Operation Fahrad Al Amin, the Anbar offensive as part of Operation Phantom Thunder.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Anti-Herman says:

    Did these characters come from the area east of Fallujuh?

  • Solomon2 says:

    Twenty with suicide vests? An amazing victory, when one considers the carnage thus avoided. Too bad it’s all so quiet that it’s unlikely Iraqi and coalition forces will receive the regard they deserve.

  • 106 Dead Jihadis In One day

    Gee I hope Allah has those 7632 virgins all ready to go. But seriously, do you still get the virgins for getting your ass handed to you?Via MNF- Iraq: RAMADI, Iraq – At least 23 insurgents were killed in fighting…

  • Teflon Don says:

    On the human interest side of this story, BLACKFIVE links to an outstanding story about some Apache helicopter pilots involved in the battle.
    I recommend you check it out:

  • Neo says:

    Teflon Don,
    That’s a great link you gave where the Apache crew did a self-extraction with the critically wounded man. They put the wounded man in the gunners seat and the gunner strapped himself to the outside of the helicopter, riding back sitting on the wing. Sounds a bit drafty.

  • Dan Smith says:

    Thank you Bill, again, for supplying news that the MSM is unwilling and unable to provide. No IED casualties? Then AP, CNN, CBS et al have NO interest in reporting the success.

  • gerry says:

    I am worried that the Iraqi police and military once again are not standing up to the violence. The Vietnam parallel of not having a viable military while we fight thier battles still holds true.

  • Donkey Island:

    Bill Roggio describes how insurgents based on Ramadi’s Donkey Island prepared attack Coalition Forces, but found themselves on the receiving end instead, losing at least 23 men….

  • MrBig says:

    Your worries are unfounded and do not reflect current conditions. The Iraqi security forces are indeed fighting and dying for themselves and their countrymen. See DJ’s excellent article from yesterday on the improving monthly death tolls. All numbers showed a significant improvement over previous months with the exception of the ISF which were WAY up.

  • RTLM says:

    I hope Brigadier General Gurganus is recognized when the The Surge and Operation Iraqi Freedom is brought to an end. Signs are pointing strongly to success and he’s played a major role in this success thus far.

  • ajacksonian says:

    Terrorists make very, very poor soldiers.
    When AQI is forced to actually assault a position, that either means that resistance is so weak that they have every reason to believe they will succeed… or that they know it is a losing proposition, so strap on the explosives and see if you can take someone down with you.
    Now, I am sure that the traditional martyr’s outfit is white… but… at night? Why does the term ‘Ghost Warrior’ come to mind? Just do all the right things and those bullets will not hit you… white… at night… perhaps they will use sparklers, later.

  • grognard says:

    I would be interested to know the makeup of the AQ forces that have been taken or killed. Is the force primarily foreign or a mix of native Iraqi and foreign fighters? For someone who has been killed the actual identity and country of origin might be difficult to determine, but prisoners are usually identifiable. A ratio of mostly foreign terrorists to native Iraqis would indicate a decline in the movement, a ratio that has mostly an Iraqi contingent would indicate that they can still recruit from the Sunni areas.


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