Capt. Cory Roberts, center, of 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, directs his company during a sweep of Al Batra, southwest of Baghdad, along the Euphrates River Saturday. The coalition was helping Iraqi forces try to arrest two suspects in planning the kidnapping and execution of soldiers in 2007. The suspects were not found, but the Iraqi Army uncovered hundreds of pounds of buried explosives at a small farm. A member of the "Sons of Iraq" rides his bicycle Saturday in Al Batra. The paid security personnel have been instrumental in an eight-month plunge in violence even areas around the remote and once-violent Al Batra, where a group of soldiers were kidnapped and executed in 2007.

Capt. Cory Roberts, with 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, holds a pellet of artillery explosive uncovered in a farm village along the Euphrates River. Roberts’ company helped the Iraqi Army uncover several hundred pounds of the material, a byproduct of melted down artillery casings. The explosive can remain active even after being buried for months and has been used by insurgents to build large, deep-buried bombs. Iraqi soldiers dig up bags of artillery explosive Saturday in the town of Al Batra. The material is a byproduct of melted down artillery casings and can be used to build large bombs.

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