Subscribe

The latest in a series of offensives in the western Euphrates River Valley has entered its second week, with a combined force of Marines and Iraqi soldiers “making their way inch-by-inch through caves, fields, wadis and islands.”

According to a Marine Corps news release, Operation Koa Canyon (“Wadi Aljundi” in Arabic) has resulted in more than 4,300 artillery and mortar rounds, among other weapons, being found and destroyed.

There have been no reports of casualties.

The combined force has also found 600 pounds of explosive powder, 10,000 rounds of various ammunition, 300 blasting caps, 100 feet of detonation cord and several guns and mortar systems.

“Every piece of ordnance that is uncovered is one less potential [bomb] that may be used against Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security and coalition forces,” Marine Col. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in the release.

The 22nd MEU is heading up the operation, along with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, the Marines have said.

Koa Canyon is the latest attempt by U.S. forces to strike in western Anbar province, both home to the largely Sunni insurgency and the main suspected route for smuggling weapons, cash and fighters from the Syrian border. U.S. military officials have repeatedly said they believe insurgents use the western areas of the country to supply fighting cells in Baghdad and other cities.

Late last year, U.S. forces swept through a series of towns along the Iraqi-Syrian border, promising to “stay and hold” the cities they’d cleared.

The 22nd MEU is a “special operations capable” Marine unit comprised of a command group, battalion landing team, support unit and helicopter squadron. They are under the operational control of the 2nd Marine Division.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up