Insurgent propaganda plant found during Haditha sweep
Iraqi security forces uncovered an insurgent propaganda production facility during a sweep of western Iraqi towns, officials said Sunday.
The patrol in Haditha is part of the larger Operation River Gate, the latest U.S.-Iraqi offensive aimed at stopping the movement of insurgents across the Syrian border and into the vast western deserts of Iraq.
More than 200 suspected insurgents have been arrested since the operation, called Bawwabatu Annaher in Arabic, kicked off Tuesday, the U.S. military said. More than a half-dozen U.S. soldiers and Marines have been killed during the operation, including two soldiers killed Friday.
The house raided by Iraqi forces included “numerous prepared al-Qaida in Iraq compact disks and audio tapes, three computers, several printers, banner makers, multi-disc copiers and thousands of bland disks and tapes,” a statement from the U.S. Marine headquarters at Camp Blue Diamond read.
The towns of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana have been the main targets of the operation.
Joint raids also turned up a bomb-making factory in Haditha, officials said Sunday. Marines found pre-wired bombs and bomb-making supplies.
U.S. officials also said they are keeping new military outposts occupied during the recently concluded Operation Iron Fist. That operation, farther out west near the Syria-Iraq border, wrapped up late on Thursday, officials said.
The six-day operation was aimed at “insurgent support systems in and around the city of Sa’dah,” 12 miles east of the Syrian border along the Euphrates River.
“Coalition Forces have established new outposts in Sa’dah in order to maintain a presence in the area,” the military said in a release. “These positions will sustain ongoing operations to defeat the flow of al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists from Syria along the Euphrates River Valley.”