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Operation Marne Avalanche continued with two air assault raids on targets in northern Babil province in Iraq this week, military officials said Thursday.

The first raid targeted the alleged leader of an insurgent cell responsible for carrying out roadside bomb attacks.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division conducted an air assault mission and captured the man and seven of his alleged lieutenants, officials said.

During that raid, soldiers also found a car apparently being used as a mobile bomb factory, several automatic weapons, cash, Iraqi police uniforms and large numbers of identification cards.

In a second operation, some 650 U.S. and Iraqi troops conducted a cordon-and-search operation in the city of Jabella. The mission targeted members of the Mahdi Army militia, the Shiite gunmen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr.

The militia has been accused in Jabella of a “murder and intimidation campaign to terrorize the city’s populace.”

“The combined assault swept through the city with no resistance and re-established an Iraqi Security Force presence inside the city,” read a news release issued Thursday.


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