American and Iraqi forces have kicked off another operation against apparent al-Qaida in Iraq cells, this time south of Baghdad. It is the latest in a string of announced offensives by the forces, including the house-to-house clearing in Baqouba, north of Baghdad.
The new operation, announced Thursday and dubbed Operation Commando Eagle, is “geared toward curbing terrorist activity southwest of Baghdad,” according to a military press release.
A mix of helicopter-borne air assaults and Humvee movements, the operation includes soldiers from several battalions of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division.
“The operation, which began [Thursday], targeted a series of houses which local citizens indicated were being used by al-Qaida cells to intimidate them and launch attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces,” the release read.
According to the U.S. military, U.S. troops from the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment arrested three men whose truck “was found to contain documents requesting rockets as well as a spool of copper wire, commonly used to build improvised explosive devices.”
Iraqi troops uncovered a weapons cache that included a sniper rifle, 20 homemade grenades, four ski masks, 75 compact discs of propaganda and terror techniques instructing methods to commit kidnappings and to shoot down coalition helicopters, and various bomb-making materials.
U.S. troops of the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment found weapons caches that included small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and high explosives.