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Iraqi troops operating in western Mosul uncovered a large weapons cache in an operation that U.S. commanders say demonstrates the Iraqis’ improvement in recent years.

Iraqi soldiers were credited with finding the cache in a basement on Feb. 14. U.S. officials did not say why the information was not released earlier.

“This is a great example of the progress that has been made over the last few years,” Col. Gary Volesky, commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was quoted as saying in a news release. “I was here in 2004 and the Iraqi Security Forces were very poor. Now they are doing operations on their own. This is a clear indication of how much they have grown.”

The Iraqi unit was conducting a cordon-and-search operation in the Al Sina’a neighborhood, prompted by an incident in which a bomb-maker blew himself up several weeks before, officials said.

A tip from local Iraqis led to the cache.

The weapons and explosives were cataloged by an American explosive ordnance disposal team, with Iraqi security forces tasked with disposing of the materials.

Items found included:

80 rockets69 mortar rounds19 rocket warheads12 projectiles12 rocket-propelled grenade launchers10 rocket launchers2 missiles100 improvised rocket tubes646 grenades39 machine guns49 fuses1,300 blasting caps300 pounds of explosive materials2 propane tanks for use as bombsSource: U.S. military

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