U.S. troops operating in Anbar province, Iraq, this week arrested two suspected insurgents and uncovered a weapons cache containing thousands of armor-piercing machine-gun rounds, among other finds, U.S. military officials said Monday.
The cache included 200 artillery and mortar fuses, 10 82 mm mortar rounds, 15 rocket-propelled grenades, 16 hand grenades, three 57 mm rockets, five 122 mm artillery shells and more than 2,000 small-arms rounds. Insurgents routinely reshape artillery and mortar rounds into roadside bombs.
But perhaps the most worrisome find in the cache — discovered near the city of Qaryat al Jaffah — was the 15,000 armor-piercing machine-gun rounds.
The U.S. troops involved in the patrol were from the Illinois National Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward). Both are operating under a command known as Task Force Blackhawk. The task force members were, until now, assigned to Multi-National Forces-Baghdad, under the larger command of the 4th Infantry Division.
U.S. military planners have shifted units from relatively calm areas to be deployed in combat operations in other parts of the country.