U.S. raid south of Baghdad destroys 30 weapons caches
U.S. military aircraft dropped 35 bombs on Arab Jabour Sunday night, the third bombing of this community south of Baghdad since the beginning of the month.
A total of 99,000 pounds of bombs have been dropped on 99 sites in Arab Jabour during the airstrikes, officials say.
In Sunday’s raid, more than 30 sites of weapons caches and explosives were targeted because they prevented coalition forces from entering areas where they hadn’t been before, according to Col. Terry Ferrell, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.
The bombs, which weighed a total of 19,000 pounds, destroyed seven bombs and one weapons cache, according to Maj. Alayne Conway, 3rd ID spokeswoman.
The joint operation involved airstrikes by F-18 fighter jets and B-1 bombers, including Air Force, Navy and Marine aircraft, according to a news release issued by Multi-National Corps—Iraq.
The Air Force and soldiers of the 2nd BCT, 3rd ID “worked in careful coordination” to prevent collateral damage and use of any area for attacks on coalition forces, officials said.
The raid was conducted as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix, which is targeting insurgents across Iraq who fled the “surge” of U.S. troops last spring.
On Jan. 16, U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers dropped more than 10,000 pounds of munitions on bunkers in Arab Jabour allegedly used by al-Qaida in Iraq as training sites.
And on Jan. 10, the U.S. military dropped 38 bombs, carrying 40,000 pounds of explosives, in 10 minutes, one of the largest strikes since the 2003 invasion, according to The Washington Post.
The Post also reported that human rights groups worry that civilians can be killed in neighborhoods where insurgents mix with the locals.
The U.S. Assistance Mission for Iraq estimates more than 200 civilians died as a result of U.S. air strikes in Iraq from the beginning of April to the end of last year, the Post reported.