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U.S. and Iraqi forces wrapped up Operation Spear, a series of raids in western Anbar province that uncovered at least three car-bomb factories, the U.S. command in Iraq said Tuesday.

The operation focused on the city of Karabilah, where the joint forces found 17 car bombs, including a tractor-trailer, dump truck and van rigged with explosives.

Operation Spear was the latest in a series of actions near the Syrian border. U.S. military officials have repeatedly said insurgents use the porous borders to smuggle arms, money, supplies and foreign fighters into Iraq.

Spear was supported by U.S. air power. Monday, residents of Karabilah told the Associated Press that at least three neighborhoods suspected of housing insurgents were targeted by airstrikes. Some dozen houses, shops, four mosques, two schools and a medical center were among the buildings hit, according to wire service reports.

U.S. officials said 33 buildings were “damaged or destroyed” in the four days of the operation.

“The only buildings fired upon were those occupied by terrorists or foreign fighters,” read a press release from the military’s Baghdad headquarters.

“Several of the buildings were fortified, reinforced and barricaded structures with the windows bricked up and replaced by small rifle firing ports. The terrorists in the buildings were struck either by the main gun rounds of Marine tanks or by airstrikes.”

Some 13 Iraqis have been compensated for damage to their property, officials said.

During raids in the area, U.S. and Iraqi forces confiscated foreign passports from countries such as Sudan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Insurgents in the area have used large-scale car bombs in a series of audacious attacks. In one, suicide bombers driving a firetruck tried to attack a Marine outpost; Marines defending the base repelled the assault.


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