101st Airborne soldiers find huge mortar cache near Kirkuk
BAGHDAD — Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division uncovered a huge weapons cache near Kirkuk, a discovery that included more explosive material in one place than one brigade had found in the previous two months combined.
The cache contained more than 2,700 mortar rounds and was found near an old Iraqi army base south of the city. Members of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team found the weapons buried in a series of dirt mounds in a field.
“Iraqi and U.S. forces are securing the site and preparing to excavate the remaining mounds in search of additional weapons,” a U.S. military release said Monday.
“Weapons and explosives seized by Iraqi and U.S. forces are normally moved to a secure location and disposed of through controlled detonations in order to keep them from being used against local citizens and coalition forces,” the release read.
Mortar rounds have been used both in indirect fire attacks and in makeshift bombs.
Elsewhere, in Ramadi, U.S. and Iraqi forces in Operation Tigers also found “several” caches, including two hidden along a set of railroad tracks.
The finds included artillery and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, explosives, small-arms weapons, ammunition, body armor and bomb-making equipment, officials said. The operations were undertaken by Task Force 2-69 of the U.S. military and 3rd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Division.
Several suspected insurgents have also been arrested during the operation.
Operation Tigers is the fourth in a series of what the military is calling “disruption operations,” aimed at trying to boost security in Ramadi for the elections. The city has long been an insurgent stronghold, with only 2 percent of registered voters turning out for October’s constitutional referendum.