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U.S. soldiers patrolling western Iraq earlier this week uncovered a weapons cache that American military officials called “among the largest discovered to date in western Anbar province.”

According to the U.S. command, soldiers of the Fort Wainwright, Alaska-based 4th Squadron, 14th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, which is assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Regimental Combat Team-7 during their deployment to Iraq, discovered the weapons. The cache, found near al Quratiyah, included more than 3,000 pieces of munitions and was first uncovered during a recon patrol Monday, officials said.

The discovery was made after area residents gave the soldiers a tip on stored weapons, which were hidden near “two displaced piles of dirt and rocks near a vehicle trail,” according to a military news release.

“Upon further investigation, the displaced areas were identified as weapons caches and they were excavated.”

Among the weapons recovered were hundreds of mortar rounds, rockets and other “projectile-type” munitions used to create roadside bombs, the military said.

“This find means a serious reduction in the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) available for anti-Iraqi forces to use in cowardly attacks,” Army Maj. Doug W. Merritt, 4th Squadron operations officer, was quoted as saying in the release.

According to the military, soldiers of the 4th Squadron have uncovered more than 118 weapons caches, including a massive stash last October that included 1,000 artillery rounds and 40,000 armor-piercing bullets, among other weapons.


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