Baghdad raids net insurgents, weapons caches, and lots of booze
Ongoing “clearing operations” by U.S. and Iraqi troops in the Mansour district of Baghdad have led to three arrests and the seizure of a particularly distinct cache: thousands of bottles of booze.
According to the U.S. military, troops uncovered a “contraband cache” that included 100 cases of Smirnoff vodka, 50 cases of Johnny Walker bourbon, three hand grenades and several passports.
In six other seized caches, troops found 50 gallons of nitric acid, six bags of homemade explosives, one suicide-bomber vest, several guns, body armor and bomb-making materials.
“Over the last three days of clearing operations [in Mansour], Iraqi security forces and coalition soldiers detained 34 suspected terrorists and found 15 weapons and explosives caches,” a U.S. military news release read.
The operation, called Arrowhead Strike 9, includes some 500 Iraqi police and soldiers along with 1,100 U.S. troops from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. It is part of the larger Baghdad security plan in which U.S. and Iraqi troops take up permanent residence at bases inside the city, then clear neighborhoods from within.
The U.S. military announced Saturday the creation of another such neighborhood base in the Baghdad district of Furat.
Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division have built and moved into a base now known as Combat Outpost Battle.
“These combat outposts are important because it gets us out with the people where we can get to know them more,” Capt. Brian Ducote, the company commander, was quoted as saying.
“It’s easier to patrol. You can respond quicker to incidences.”
The troops have already put up some 350 “Alaska barriers” — tall, movable concrete barriers — to help beef up security at the base.
For the time being, troops are living in tents, with a makeshift motor pool housing their vehicles, the news release read.
“It will be austere at first but every day we’re taking steps to improve it. It will really be just like a mini-[forward operating base] out here,” said 1st Lt. Scott Hutchison. “We’re here until the job gets done.”