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CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — Operation Cobra Lightning wrapped up last week, a combined effort between the U.S. and Iraqi armies to sweep through entire Baghdad blocks looking for signs of the insurgency.

The 2nd Battalion of the 156th Infantry, part of the Louisiana National Guard, worked the three-day mission. They contributed about 350 men in a dozen platoons while working with three Iraqi companies totaling about 900 soldiers, according to Maj. David Gooch, 40, of Abbeville, La., the battalion’s chief of operations.

The soldiers brought in 46 detainees suspected of variety of crimes, including missing or false identification papers, illegal weapons possession, possession of homemade bombs and being a direct part of the insurgency, he said.

During the three days, there was only one exchange of fire. An Iraqi unit was fired on and they returned fire, but the source of the attack was never found, Gooch said. No injuries were reported.

One detainee broke both ankles trying to escape, Gooch said. The man was running away on rooftops, hopping from one to another. At one point his jump was short, and he fell to the ground, the major said. The man was taken to the 86th Combat Support Hospital for treatment.

“Soon as he’s healthy enough, he’ll go to jail,” Gooch said.

The 2nd Battalion’s searches were in the Hurriyah neighborhood, an area where the Iraqi army was patrolling for the first time last week.

“All they ever saw was coalition forces,” Gooch said of the residents there. “It was a great opportunity to have them see their own army.”


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