Soldiers find, collapse al-Qaida tunnel network
American soldiers south of Baghdad discovered a series of tunnels allegedly used by al-Qaida in Iraq to hide fighters, launch attacks and store weapons and bomb-making materials.
The find was made by troops of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment on Sunday, officials said Monday. The troops found the tunnels while they were searching northwest of Iskandariyah, which is near the Euphrates River.
“The tunnels provided access to numerous al-Qaida firing positions for anti-aircraft guns, as well as hiding places for AQI fighters after they launched attacks,” a military news release read.
After clearing the tunnels and seizing the weapons material, troops called in air strikes to destroy the tunnels, officials said.
“After an initial engagement with one Hellfire missile and three rockets, heavier air support was called in and dropped two bombs on the target, completely collapsing the network,” the release read.
The weapons search was part of Operation Marne Roundup, which targets militants in the area of Multi-National Division — Center.
The area that the tunnels are in will become the location for a new security outpost, to be called Patrol Base Khidr, officials said.